Hours after U.S. health officials last week approved third doses for Americans with weakened immune systems, CVS and Walgreens opened up for same-day or walk-in vaccination appointments for booster shots. On Wednesday, the Biden administration called for a third Covid-19 shot starting in the fall for adults, which would fuel another wave of demand.
Booster shots are rolling out as demand for initial shots also is on the rise. More people are getting their first shot amid a surge in cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant and as more employers, businesses and government entities are requiring people to get vaccinated for work, travel and to participate in leisure activities.
Meanwhile, many government-run mass vaccination sites shut down this summer as demand waned, making drugstores a more-critical source for vaccines. Walgreens, for instance, says it has noted a 30% rise in demand for vaccines in the past few weeks while the U.S. overall has logged an increase of 15% to 25% in that time.
State and local health agencies continue to play a big role in vaccinations, though public-sector efforts have shifted away from stadium-size mass vaccination sites in favor of smaller, targeted efforts that aim to reach communities where people lack access to medical care or are hesitant to get a shot.