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Walgreens (WBA) Rolls Out Plan to Boost COVID-19 Vaccination

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Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.’s (WBA - Free Report) U.S. pharmacy segment is set to extend pharmacy hours of operation each Friday in the month of June for walk-in vaccinations. This initiative came on the heels of the President’s latest announcement to make June the National Month of Action in terms of vaccination.

For investors’ note, Walgreens along with other pharmacy chains like Albertsons, CVS and Rite-Aid participated with Biden’s National Month of Action plan, intended to vaccinate more than 70% of adults with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the Jul 4 deadline.

Per the plan, Walgreens will extend its pharmacy operation hours to offer additional flexibility to individuals who have limited time to get vaccinated. One can enquire about the updated pharmacy hours at the Walgreens online store locator or at a local pharmacy and also schedule vaccination appointments based on availability in their area.

Also, the COVID-19 vaccine is accessible on a walk-in basis in more than 400 Walgreens pharmacies operating for 24 hours across the country.

Walgreens’ Efforts to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

Walgreens has implemented several initiatives to address hesitancy and increase accessibility with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine. The company has hosted more than 1,000 vaccine clinics in medically-underserved areas and launched mobile vaccine clinics across the country. It has partnered with Faith for Black Lives and the League of United Latin American Citizens to raise awareness about vaccines. In addition, to increase vaccine uptake among the Latinx community, it has partnered with UnidosUS to facilitate bilingual mobile education tours.

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The company has also introduced free transportation to and from vaccine appointments with Uber, enabled by Walgreens Cash rewards donated by myWalgreens members to the Vaccine Access Fund.

Walgreens at present is directly engaging with employers, schools and community colleges to administer COVID-19 vaccines through 120 vaccine clinics in June.

Industry Prospect

Per a report by Global Market Estimates published in Globe Newswire, the coronavirus vaccine market is expected to see a CAGR of 30.2% from 2021-2026. Rising cases of COVID-19, especially in densely populated countries, a large geriatric population, expanding government vaccination programs and the development of top-notch vaccines to control the viral transfer are among the key factors driving market growth.

Walgreens’ Recent Developments in Response to COVID-19

In June 2021, Abbott and Walgreens launched a pilot program to increase access to rapid testing for Philadelphia residents with Pennsylvania Electronic Benefit Transfer card. Under this initiative, each cardholder will receive weekly access to Abbott's BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests free of cost at 16 Walgreens locations within the city.

In May, Walgreens began touring a multi-city mobile clinic bus capable of vaccinating up to six patients at a time. This initiative has been part of Walgreens’ strategy to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as the company has hosted more than 800 offsite clinics in medically-underserved areas to date.

In the same month, the company began administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents aged 12-15, following an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Share Price Performance

The stock has underperformed its industry over the past year. It has gained 29.1% versus the industry’s 34.9% growth.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Currently, Walgreens Boots carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space include PetIQ, Inc. (PETQ - Free Report) , Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI - Free Report) and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST - Free Report) .

PetIQ, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 25.00%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Computer Programs and Systems, which carries a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 14.00%.

West Pharmaceutical, which carries a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 25.80%.

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