Walgreens expanding COVID-19 vaccination efforts in North Carolina stores

Starting next week, Walgreens stores in 15 states and jurisdictions will expand their COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Vaccinations will begin Feb. 12 to those eligible, including healthcare workers, those 65 and older and those with existing conditions. A set number of doses will be allocated from the CDC directly to Walgreens in the 15 states and jurisdictions, one of which is North Carolina.

Marcella Thompson is not waiting any longer for her COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the Durham County Health Department next month.

"I want to get the vaccine because we are dying," Thompson said.

Instead, she's going to sign up to get the shot at her local Walgreens next week.

For Thompson, it's a safe, familiar space.

"I get my medication there. I buy my groceries there. Everybody knows Miss Marcella," said Thompson. "It's a better advantage to the community when you can get the vaccine right at your local drug store."

The program hopes to help people in medically underserved areas battle the virus.

Thompson, 64, is an essential worker with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart issues.

Her community depends on her charity, The Mustard Seed Project, feeding 160 families a week -- cooking or delivering donated meals throughout Durham.

She said a lot of residents in her community don't agree with her decision to take the vaccine. Some are reluctant either because of distrust, or they would rather rely on faith as a weapon against the virus.

"I talk to God just like I'm talking to you. But God also gave us some sense," Thompson said.

"If they see Miss Marcella doing this, Miss Marcella who they know, Miss Marcella who they respect, is getting this vaccination, then we can save a lot of people," she said. "In our community, we cannot afford not to do it."

300 Walgreens stores across North Carolina will have more than 30,000 doses of the vaccine.

"Walgreens was one of the first pharmacies to begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations in December to long-term care facility staff and residents, and we look forward to leveraging our experience to support the federal government and CDC in expanding access to these vaccines," said John Standley, president, Walgreens.

Walgreens was picked by the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

People can sign up for appointments beginning Tuesday.

To sign up:
  • Follow the COVID-19 vaccine pre-screening prompts.
  • If approved, you'll pick your store location, date and time for the vaccination.

Vaccinations at select stores begin next Friday.

In December, Walgreens announced plans to vaccinate 3,000,000 residents and staff members in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country. President Joe Biden's administration told reporters Tuesday about a plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.
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