Walgreens expands vaccine eligibility to RI educators, school staff

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Walgreens is joining CVS in allowing Rhode Island educators to sign up for vaccinations at its pharmacies.

The move comes just days after rival pharmacy, CVS Health opened up appointments to teachers and school staff on its website.

Walgreens had previously told 12 News it was not allowing teachers to sign up because, unlike CVS, it was not participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in Rhode Island.

But on Friday, Walgreens did expand eligibility on its vaccine portal to include educators and child care workers, providing this statement to 12 News:

Per CDC guidelines, during the month of March we are prioritizing school staff and childcare workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines in our stores and through dedicated clinics in states where we are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

At this time, we do not support the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in the state of Rhode Island, in accordance with CDC guidance. However, the state of Rhode Island does allocate limited quantities of vaccines for Walgreens to administer to eligible patients at select store locations.

Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health, said Walgreens is receiving the Pfizer vaccine directly from the federal government to vaccinate teachers.

Wendelken said the expansion in eligibility by both CVS and Walgreens is now directly in line with President Joe Biden’s calls to prioritize educators and school staff.

Like Biden, newly sworn-in Gov. Dan McKee has also continuously pushed for teachers and other school staffers to be prioritized.

Right now Rhode Island educators are only able to receive the vaccine at either CVS or Walgreens but the state is working on a plan to vaccinate such workers at state-run sites, too.

As of Friday night, Walgreens had yet to expand eligibility to educators in Massachusetts, but has previously said it would do so on March 11, when teachers will be able to sign up for shots at state-run sites.

Alexandra Leslie contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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