by Walgreens News
22 January 2021
FAQs and real-time information on our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Last updated Jan. 22, 2021.
Our stores have always been at the heart of America’s communities – a role we take very seriously, especially during this unprecedented time for our country. We are doing everything we can to help ensure the health and well-being of our team members and customers during the pandemic, and that includes keeping everyone updated and informed.

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will refresh this page with our most up-to-date information on the company’s response and ongoing efforts in communities and across the U.S.

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COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 testing


What's happening in our stores?

What's happening in our pharmacies?

Keeping our team members safe
 


 

COVID-19 Vaccines

What is your role in the administration of vaccines?

Walgreens will support the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities, as well as to the general public through our more than 9,000 store locations, once they become approved and available. With our nationwide presence, extensive vaccine experience and trusted community pharmacists, we are confident we can help accelerate COVID-19 vaccine administration nationwide.

What is the progress of long-term care facilities by jurisdiction?
As of Friday, Jan. 22, Walgreens has administered more than 1 million vaccinations in long-term care facilities and to additional vulnerable populations, and completed 13,678 clinics in long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. National and state-level updates on our long-term care facility efforts are available on our website. This is updated at approximately 4 p.m. CST on weekdays.

How does a patient know if they are eligible?
Walgreens continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and federal, state and local governments on efforts to expand vaccine availability to additional populations. Patients can check their eligibility through this online scheduler or by calling 1-800-Walgreens (1-800-925-4733). COVID-19 vaccines from Walgreens will only be available to eligible individuals by appointment during Phase 1 distribution; walk-ins will not be accepted.

When will vaccines be available for the general population?
We are following guidance from the CDC and federal and state governments on mass availability. We will continuously expand access as more vaccines are approved and vaccine inventory grows. We anticipate vaccines will be available for the general population through our more than 9,000 stores sometime in spring 2021.

Who will receive vaccines as part of Phase 1 distribution? 
As part of the federal government’s vaccine distribution plans, states are responsible for prioritizing populations for initial COVID-19 vaccine administration. Walgreens is working closely with state governments to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines as states advance their Phase 1A and 1B distribution and administration plans for additional vulnerable populations. Prioritized populations vary based on state guidelines and may include healthcare workers, people ages 65 and older, and individuals with pre-existing conditions.

As states begin vaccine administration to additional vulnerable populations, COVID-19 vaccines will be administered at select Walgreens stores in limited quantities according to state distribution plans. Individuals eligible to receive the vaccine according to state guidelines will be able to make an appointment. During Phase 1, Walgreens will not be providing vaccinations on a walk-in basis..

How many long-term care facilities and/or states are you working with currently?
Walgreens is providing COVID-19 vaccinations to nearly 3 million residents and staff at approximately 35,000 long-term care facilities across 49 states and Washington D.C. that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider. Learn more about our progress with long-term care facilities here.

How will you ensure access to a vaccine in rural communities or for disadvantaged populations? 
We are committed to driving health equity throughout the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Reaching these areas is a critical component of what we need to do given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these communities. While nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, we’re leveraging different models, such as mobile and off-site clinics, to help ensure the delivery of vaccines in rural and underserved areas. These communities have been a focus for us throughout the pandemic, with more than 70 percent of our COVID testing sites located in socially vulnerable areas, and the implementation of off-site clinics and voucher programs helps ensure access to flu vaccinations in underserved areas.

Will COVID-19 vaccines be available at all 9,000 Walgreens pharmacies once available? 
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines will be available in all of our more than 9,000 store locations, once they become available for mass administration. The federal government, working with the states, is prioritizing high-risk populations for initial distribution, with plans to expand access to the general population based on availability of adequate supply of COVID-19 vaccines. We are following guidance from the CDC and federal and state governments on mass availability. We will continuously expand access as more vaccines are approved and vaccine inventory grows, and are looking to the spring for mass availability.

Who will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine at Walgreens? 
Our Walgreens pharmacists and immunizing technicians will administer COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with guidance from the CDC and HHS. Thousands of our pharmacy team members have the training and expertise to administer COVID-19 vaccines. They have been administering vaccines for more than a decade.

How will Walgreens protect the safety of patients and team members administering vaccines? 
We are meeting or exceeding CDC guidelines for the administration of vaccines. Walgreens has a daily screening process for employees, which includes a temperature check before the start of each shift. Pharmacy team members wear disposable face masks at all times, including while administering vaccines. They also follow proper hand hygiene and glove use procedures that are typical for immunizations. As an additional safety measure, all pharmacy team members administering vaccines wear plastic face shields for additional protection. Immunization areas will be cleaned and disinfected after each patient.

What will be the cost of the vaccine? 
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available at no cost to those receiving it.

How will you store vaccines requiring sub-zero temperatures? 
We are using a combination of ultra-cold freezers and dry ice storage hubs to support the storage of vaccines requiring sub-zero temperatures. You can learn more here.

How are you managing excess doses from facilities or clinics?  
Walgreens is administering vaccines to those eligible as part of the Phase 1A and 1B plan, as defined by the CDC and state guidelines. Any remaining doses from scheduled clinics are reallocated to the next scheduled clinic at a long-term care facility. In the event that there are remaining doses from a clinic that may potentially expire before the next scheduled clinic, those doses may be used to vaccinate Walgreens team members who are eligible to receive vaccines as part of the Phase 1A plan outlined by the CDC and states. In the event that there are available doses following this policy, our teams work with the local health departments to determine next steps.


 

COVID-19 Testing at Walgreens

What is Walgreens doing to further expand COVID-19 testing locations?
Walgreens has established COVID-19 testing sites available to individuals age 3 and older across the country, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, to help meet the growing need in communities nationwide.        
 
Walgreens has prioritized its efforts on improving access to COVID-19 testing in underserved communities, with more than 70 percent of Walgreens testing sites currently located in areas where the CDC has identified as socially vulnerable.
 
For more information please visit Walgreens.com/Covid19Testing

Who is able to visit the sites for testing - is it open to the general public?
Testing will be available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet CDC criteria. All drive-thru testing occurs outdoors and patients do not leave their vehicles throughout the process. For more information on testing locations, visit Walgreens.com/Covid19Testing.

Does Walgreens offer any at-home test options?
The Pixel by Labcorp™ COVID-19 At-Home Collection Kit is now available from Labcorp through Walgreens Find Care®, a digital health platform available on the Walgreens app and Walgreens.com.
 
Using Walgreens Find Care®, individuals can connect to the Pixel by Labcorp website to request a collection kit after completing a short COVID-19 survey to determine eligibility.


 
What’s happening in our stores? 

Will you be adjusting your operating hours?
Most Walgreens stores nationwide have resumed standard operating hours. The company continues to evaluate and adjust certain operations and offerings to meet the needs of its customers during the pandemic. Customers can visit the store locator for specific Walgreens store and pharmacy hours. 

Are you offering additional products for purchase at pharmacy drive-thru?
We play a critical role in providing patients and customers access to the care, products and services they need, and this is even more important as we work around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic. We are offering additional, essential items at the pharmacy drive-thru to offer our customers convenience and peace of mind as communities across the country practice social distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19.

More than 60 front-end products are currently available for purchase at drive-thru, including household essentials chosen specifically to support the needs of customers and communities during the pandemic. These additional products include:
  • Cleaning supplies and sanitizers
  • Cough/cold, pain/fever and immunity support
  • Select grocery items
  • Infant formula/adult nutrition
  • Medical supplies/first aid
  • Paper goods
Customers may confirm product availability with the pharmacist or technician at the pharmacy drive-thru window. We are working around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic, and ask that customers practice patience as we work to provide this new service. 

How are your stores meeting recommendations for social distancing?
All stores now have social distancing lines, indicated with decals and signage that begin 6 feet away from checkout and pharmacy counters, and is marked in 6-foot increments to indicate where customers should stand while waiting.  

In addition, we have installed protective plastic shields in our stores chainwide. These barriers may help reduce or eliminate virus exposure (per CDC recommendations) in places where proper social distancing is not possible, such as at point of sale. They are in place for both our front-end and pharmacy registers nationwide.
 
We have also introduced a number of other service offerings to encourage social distancing such as the expansion of our Postmates on-demand delivery service nationwide, and expanded drive-thru offerings to include select front-end products in addition to prescriptions.

 

Are you requiring team members to wear masks behind the counter?
We require team members in our stores to wear face covers, and continue to take actions meeting or exceeding recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, public health officials and other credible sources while following federal, state and local health advisories.

Do customers entering Walgreens now have to wear a mask? 
Also consistent with CDC guidelines, customers are required to wear face covers before entering the store except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or where the individual is under 2 years of age. We have signage on doors and make announcements over the store's public address system to remind customers that face covers are required.
Walgreens management may gently remind customers who are shopping without masks about the requirement, but out of concern for our employees’ safety, we do not stop these customers from shopping.

Is Walgreens providing wipes for customers to wipe down their carts and baskets? 
 Walgreens is providing wipes at the front of stores to clean shopping carts and baskets chainwide, with priority being given to our stores in the most impacted areas at this time. We are working as quickly as possible to provide wipes at all of our stores as an additional step to promote the safety and well-being of our team members and customers. 

Our local Walgreens is out of certain products. Will they be restocked?
We have put into effect purchase limits on certain products to improve inventory and to help ensure products can be more widely available. In addition, we continue to work closely with supplier partners to address the current supply chain dynamics.
 
Are you limiting the purchase of any products?
Because of high demand, we’re limiting the purchase of thermometers, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide to one per product category, per customer. 

First aid antiseptic, disinfectant wipes and cleaners, paper towels, toilet paper and facial tissue purchases are now limited to two per product category, per customer. 

Gloves purchases are now limited to four per product category, per customer.

We are restocking stores as quickly as possible, and apologize for any inconvenience.
 
What is the best way for customers to stay up-to-date on product availability of high-demand items in your stores?
Our website updates with the latest available store inventory information frequently throughout the day. We’re continuing to see greater demand for a number of products across our stores nationwide, which may cause temporary shortages. We are restocking those stores as quickly as possible and continuing to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.
 
Do you have alternative ways for customers to get through a transaction without touching the keypad?
Customers may opt to purchase items with Apple Pay or with credits cards that offer contactless, “tap and pay” technology at the point-of-sale. Customers may also shop online at Walgreens.com, with free delivery on any purchases over $35.

Are you taking extra precautions to keep your stores clean?
Stores have been increasing the frequency of daily cleaning procedures including cleaning high-traffic areas counter tops and point-of-sale terminals, with additional deep cleaning being conducted by a professional cleaning service at all stores. Our team members are taking appropriate protective steps such as wearing gloves during this cleaning process all distribution centers are proactively pushing out additional cleaning and sanitization items to stores nationwide for team member use.
 
We are working to send cleaning supplies to our stores on an ongoing basis. The situation is fluid regarding supply, and given these unprecedented circumstances, we are taking additional measures to provide team members the items they need. As an example, we have expanded our hand sanitizer supplier base from two suppliers to more than 10 suppliers to ensure we can increase manufacturing and flow of inventory to our stores. By doing so, we have commitments for amounts significantly in excess to our typical annual demand.  Stores are also encouraged to use inventory from products for sale such as cleaning supplies, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, etc., as needed.  
 
Are Walgreens photo kiosks still open?
We have reduced the photo kiosk availability by shutting down kiosks as necessary in each store to ensure customers are maintaining social distancing. Minimally, one kiosk must still operate in store to help with critical passport options and essential services like Western Union.

What happens when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your store?
Walgreens champions the health and well-being of every community in America, and we are committed to providing a safe environment for our team members and customers. When notified of a confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 case, we take actions meeting or exceeding recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, public health officials and other credible sources while following federal, state and local health advisories. Our clinical and safety teams work closely with our field and store leadership to respond accordingly, which may include identifying and contacting individuals who may be at risk in order to self-quarantine or self-monitor their health, as well as cleaning and disinfecting the location or impacted areas of the store. Cleanings may require temporarily closing a store, at which time customers may visit a nearby store location for their prescription needs.
 
We are actively reviewing our policies and procedures as guidelines evolve, and will continue to adjust our safety protocols accordingly to promote the safety and well-being of our team members and customers. 



What’s happening in our pharmacies?
 
How are you preparing pharmacy staff to address patient questions regarding COVID-19?
Working closely with our clinical and safety teams, we continuously share the latest information from the CDC and other health officials with our pharmacy team members to serve as a resource and help address any patient questions/concerns.
 
Our pharmacists are trained and equipped to discuss medication-related concerns and alternative methods for prescription dispensing, such as prescription delivery or drive-thru options. Patients can reach a Walgreens pharmacist via phone, in store or using the pharmacy chat option on our website and Walgreens app. Our pharmacy team also partners with health plan partners, physicians and state officials to help patients access the medications they need through services like 90-day medication supply, early refill authorizations and prescription delivery services.
 
How can patients access their prescriptions if they are being quarantined or want to avoid going in-store? 
Patients looking for alternative ways to access their prescriptions may use our pharmacy drive-thru, and Walgreens is waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions. Patients should talk to their pharmacists to confirm their prescriptions are eligible for delivery at this time. They can also send a representative to pick up their medications on their behalf if they choose.

Are pharmacists still providing immunization services (other than COVID-19 vaccines, once available)?
Walgreens has resumed immunization services with additional safety measures in place for pharmacy team members and patients. The changes follow recently updated CDC guidelines and come ahead of flu season, which health officials warn may coincide with a second wave of COVID-19.

Key measures Walgreens is implementing to ensure the safe administration of immunizations for our patients and pharmacy team members include:
  • All pharmacy team members are required to wear disposable face masks at all times, including while administering immunizations, and follow proper glove and handwashing procedures that are standard for vaccination administration.

  • As an additional safety measure, all pharmacy team members administering immunizations are receiving plastic face shields to be used during immunizations for eye protection. 

  • Patients entering a pharmacy are encouraged to wear a face covering to protect others, and those who do not have one will be provided a facemask prior to receiving immunizations.

  • At least six feet of distance is maintained between pharmacy waiting area chairs where patients may choose to complete paperwork and wait for their immunization or appointment.


Are you experiencing shortages of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine phosphate, remdisivir, baloxavir and lopinavir/ritonavir? 
 At this time, Walgreens has maintained an adequate supply and inventory of these medicines and are able to meet the prescription needs of our current patients. Patients with questions about their medications can reach out any time via phone or using the pharmacy chat option available on Walgreens.com and Walgreens app.
 


Keeping our team members safe 
 
Are you providing hazard pay for your team members?
Our team members are the face of Walgreens, supporting customers, patients and communities across America, who are relying on us now more than ever. To assist team members with unexpected expenses incurred during the pandemic as they are doing everything they can to support customers, patients and communities across America, we provided a one-time payment of $300 for full-time and $150 for part-time hourly team members working in our stores and distribution centers. This included hourly and salaried pharmacists who were actively employed as of the date of the payment. 

Why is Walgreens keeping its stores open, even in states that have declared a state of emergency?
Walgreens champions the health and well-being of every community in America, playing a critical role in providing patients and customers access to the care, products and services they need. This is even more important as we work around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic.   
 
We are closely monitoring this situation and will adjust our business operations and policies based on all federal, state and local health advisories. We are also in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other health organizations.  

Why aren’t you providing your employees with gloves? 
In our stores, we have implemented a number of measures to protect our teams including social distancing guidance and decals, plexiglass shields, additional hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and, recently, face covers. Frequent handwashing with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer remains among the most effective ways of protecting against the coronavirus. 
 
Are you doing temperature checks in your stores? 
We are conducting daily health checks for team members in our distribution centers, centralized services, regional offices, corporate offices and stores. 

 
Is your pharmacy considering going drive-thru only?
We are actively reviewing our policies, procedures and operations to promote the safety and well-being of our team members and customers. We also expanded our offering to additional products at the pharmacy drive-thru as our customers practice social distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19.

What is the expectation for employees who aren’t feeling well?
All employees who are not feeling well and have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home and contact their primary care physician. We have protocols in place to self-isolate employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 by test or who have been given a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 by their primary care physician, and corresponding guidelines for other employees who have had close contact with the person with symptoms.

Would hourly team members be paid if they take sick time due to a COVID-19 incident in store, or are diagnosed with COVID-19?

To help our team members through this period, we’ve made several key changes regarding team member pay and benefits, including:

  • Relaxing our attendance policy for team members by permitting team members to stay at home due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 for situations including childcare needs due to school closures, camp closures and lack of daycare, or if team members are exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.

  • Paying team members for up to the first two weeks of their absence if they are tested positive for COVID-19, if they are diagnosed positive (presumed positive) by their healthcare provider even without a test, or are exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms while also being a close contact as defined by the CDC to an individual who is a confirmed or presumed positive.  The team member will not be required to use paid time off (PTO) or vacation time, and/or apply for disability benefits during this time. If team members are unable to recover and return to work after two weeks, an additional pay option may be available via disability leave.

  • Paying team members showing COVID-19-like symptoms as outlined by the CDC for the day of their work shift and the next day if scheduled to work and unable to secure an appointment with a medical provider on the first day of their absence.

  • Paying team members for the remainder of their shift and for the next day (if scheduled to work) while they seek a medical opinion about whether they have COVID-19 if a store leader or manager observes COVID-19-like symptoms and requires them to go home for the day.

  • Ensuring that if a store, area office, distribution center or other company workplace location falls under a mandated quarantine, any impacted team members will be paid for their absence without requiring the use of PTO.


How else are you supporting your team members during this time?
A resource for all Walgreens employees year-round, the company offers free access to Life365, an Employee Assistance Program that offers confidential behavioral health, childcare, legal support and more. The confidential program can help team members manage current day stressors like balancing work and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping their loved ones safe, and providing relevant guidance from trained counselors all intended to keep them feeling healthy and resilient. Life365’s trained specialists are governed by federal and state licensing laws and are ready to assist team members 24/7.