Clearing up questions about Pfizer shots at Walgreens

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Ever since its creation, those behind the science of the Pfizer vaccine and public health experts recommended that the first and second doses be separated by three weeks.

However, Walgreens has been scheduling the second dose four weeks after the first.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is stepping in working with the company to change that scheduling process.

NewsChannel 9’s Julia LeBlanc checked with all stakeholders including the CDC, Walgreens, and Dr. Steven Thomas at Upstate University Hospital, who happens to be the lead investigator for Pfizer trials at Upstate.

All three sources say it is recommended that Pfizer doses be separated by 21 days but you can get the second dose up to six weeks after the first.

“We have been automatically scheduling patients’ second doses to occur a minimum of 28 days following their first dose to ensure that no dose is administered earlier than the authorized intervals and patients are able to complete the series vaccination,” said Fraser Engerman, Senior Director of External Relations for Walgreen Co.

The CDC provided the following statement about this process.

“If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose…. may be administered up to 6 weeks after the first dose. However, if you do receive your second shot of COVID-19 vaccine earlier or later than recommended, you do not have to restart the vaccine series.”

A Walgreens representative says those who already have their second dose booked can check 24 hours before the 3-week mark to try and reschedule if you’d like. But we’re told it is safe and effective to get the second dose four weeks later. Bottom line: Keep that second appointment no matter what. 

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