Public Health

Walgreens is now offering RSV vaccines for older adults

Respiratory syncytial virus viral vaccine under research.

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Walgreens is now offering the respiratory syncytial virus vaccine for older adults nationwide, the pharmacy chain said on Tuesday.

People ages 60 and older can schedule an appointment this week through Walgreens’ app, website, by phone or by visiting their local pharmacy.

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This is the first RSV season in which older adults have the option to get vaccinated against the virus. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first RSV vaccines, made by Pfizer and GSK, last spring.

Walgreens is offering both Pfizer’s and GSK’s shots, which are administered as a single dose.

RSV starts spreading more widely in the fall. The virus kills 6,000 to 10,000 older adults and hospitalizes 60,000 to 160,000 every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has said eligible adults should talk to their doctor about whether they should receive the shot.

The RSV vaccines are now available in most states and appointments will be added on a rolling basis over the next two weeks as more pharmacies receive the shots, according to Walgreens.

Walgreens’ pharmacies are not yet authorized to administer RSV vaccines in DC, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York, though the company expects to add the shots in these places over time, a spokesperson said.

People who live in Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Utah will need a doctor’s prescription to receive the shots, the spokesperson said.

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CVS is preparing to offer a RSV vaccine for older adults in the coming weeks, a company spokesperson said.

Pfizer started directly shipping its RSV vaccine to customers last month and has sufficient stock to meet demand, a company spokesperson said. CNBC has reached out to GSK for comment.

Pfizer’s shot was 85.7% effective at preventing more severe lower respiratory tract disease during the patient’s first RSV season after vaccination. The shot’s efficacy declined slightly to 78.6% about 18 months after vaccination.

GSK’s shot was 94% effective against severe RSV disease in the patient’s season after vaccination. The shot’s efficacy declined to about 78.8% after two RSV seasons.

— CNBC’S Annika Kim Constantino contributed to this story.

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