Customers are having to face a number of hurdles when it comes to shopping these days—stores closing, rising prices, product shortages, you name it. Many of these problems were kickstarted by the pandemic, but they’ve yet to let up over the past two years. Now, CVS is warning customers about a new shortage that could affect their health care needs. Read on to find out what the pharmacy chain is struggling to keep in stock right now.
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Supply chain issues set off by the closing of ports and factories during the start of COVID have continued to contribute to shortages across the U.S.—and drugstores have been hit particularly hard. In the spring, both CVS and Walgreens had to limit purchases of baby formula amid supply shortages. Then in June, shoppers at both drugstores were warned about a tampon shortage. The shortages also extend to medication, with a staggering number of prescription drugs in short supply. Most recently, both retailers have been struggling to keep Adderall, one of the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications, in stock.
Consumers should expect to “feel the effects of the disrupted supply chain for at least another year,” George Alessandria, an economist at the University of Rochester, told the university in a Q&A blog post. It’s no surprise, then, that CVS is now alerting customers to another supply issue within its stores.
If you’re on the hunt for one COVID necessity at your local CVS, you might have to look elsewhere. The company says it has run out of Moderna’s updated bivalent booster vaccines in some parts of the country, The Boston Globe reported. “Some CVS Pharmacy locations have administered all of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine received from the federal government to date,” CVS spokesperson Tara Burke told the newspaper.
The shortages of Moderna’s new booster are “store-specific and not limited to Massachusetts,” according to Burke. The spokesperson did not reveal how many stores are struggling to keep the vaccine in stock, but said that people could sign up for “limited Moderna appointments” on the drugstore’s official website or through its app. “Appointments are updated as supply is received,” Burke told The Boston Globe.
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CVS just started administering Omicron-specific COVID boosters at the beginning of this month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially authorized the use of Moderna and Pfizer’s “updated boosters” on Aug. 31. With this authorization, the FDA decided to reverse the authorization of the two vaccine manufacturers’ original mRNA vaccines as boosters for those 12 and older.
A CVS spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle that people receiving their initial vaccine doses can still get the original formula of Moderna or Pfizer, but those looking to get a booster soon can only get the bivalent vaccine. Thankfully, the Pfizer bivalent shot seems to be in stock everywhere. Burke told The Boston Globe that CVS locations “continue to offer” the new Pfizer booster and that people could sign up for Pfizer shots—even if they initially received the Moderna vaccine.
“Per CDC guidance, patients do not have to match the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine they receive to the brand they received during their primary series or previous boosters,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.
CVS is “working with the government to acquire more Moderna doses,” according to Burke. But it’s not alone in its struggle. Walgreens has reported similar issues with supply of Moderna’s updated booster, the Washington Examiner recently reported.
“We are currently working to reschedule some appointments where supply has been interrupted,” Stephanie Corcilius, a spokeswoman for Walgreens, told the newspaper. “The updated Pfizer COVID-19 booster remains available. We are not experiencing any impacts to the Pfizer product supply at this time.”
Walgreens has also said it is working with the government to acquire more Moderna doses, Reuters reported. According to the news outlet, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) said that retail pharmacies should be receiving millions more doses of Moderna this week as production ramps up on the manufacturer’s bivalent booster. “We anticipate supply will continue to increase in the coming weeks,” an ASPR spokesperson told Reuters.