Walgreens has been ignoring federal guidance and doling out second doses of the Pfizer vaccine a week later than suggested, a report revealed Monday.
The pharmacy giant has been administering the second shot of the two-dose regime four weeks after giving the first one — because it was easier for the company to schedule at the same interval as the Moderna vaccine, the New York Times said.
But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called out the company — noting that the vaccine’s second dose should really be administered three weeks after the first, although the agency acknowledged that it is still acceptable to extend that window to six weeks when necessary.
There is no indication that the lag by a week of the second shot affects the vaccine’s overall effectiveness.
A man receives the COVID-19 vaccination at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Danvers, Massachusetts.Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
But Walgreens agreed to make the switch to three weeks for second shots starting as soon as the next few days, the Times said.
The company has inoculated hundreds of thousands of US residents with both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The latter inoculations are also two-part, with the second shot recommended after four weeks.
Walgreens staff in Dayton, Ohio prepare COVID-19 vaccines.MEGAN JELINGER/AFP via Getty Images
Administering the second Pfizer shot after four weeks had just been “the easiest way to stand up the process based on our capabilities at the time,” Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Dr. Kevin Ban, explained to the paper.