Getting ‘Walgreened’ What the HELL is Walgreens Doing Spacing Pfizer Doses 4, Not 3, Weeks Apart?

THE DOCTOR IS IN--Most people reading this are not medical professionals...but they have heard about this little thing we call the COVID-19 coronavirus.

They also know a thing or two about what's been done about it, including vaccination. 

Right or wrong, we've tried all sorts of things over the past 1-2 years, such as antibiotics, immunosuppressives, and vitamins to try to minimize or prevent severe cases of COVID-19 from either being transmitted or exacerbated for those prone to the more dreadful and deadly responses to catching this virus. 

I've said this before, and I'll say it again--the ONLY proven non-medicinal ways to prevent severe cases of COVID-19 is to take proper doses of daily Vitamin D3 (1-2000 IU of Vitamin D3), as well as low-dose Aspirin (81 mg/day). Both of these are over the counter, but for those with bleeding or stomach problems, run that Aspirin idea by your doctor. 

But increasing numbers know that vaccination is likely the only way out of the COVID-19 virus dilemma our nation and world is going through. Israel is one of the most universally vaccinated nations on Planet Earth, and maybe the most vaccinated...and both non-vaccinated individuals as well as those vaccinated are being protected. 

It's that "herd immunity" thing you keep hearing about. Once the human "herd" in any given population has enough immunized and/or vaccinated individuals to COVID-19, the likelihood of that virus being able to get a toehold in that population becomes so small that the population is effectively cured. 

But whether it's childhood (or adult) measles, hepatitis B, or the flu or coronavirus variants that mutate every few months or years, the need for proper vaccinations on an ongoing basis is critical and unavoidable...because that effective cure goes away.  

And when that proper vaccination process stops, then the virus comes back--be it measles, the flu...or, potentially, COVID-19. 

Many have just discovered--to their collective horror--that Walgreens knowingly scheduled (and still are scheduling) the Pfizer vaccination shots four, and not the proper three, weeks apart. 

It's certainly easier to schedule BOTH the two-dosed Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations four weeks apart for scheduling and operational purposes... 

...but it's NOT OK to knowingly go against CDC guidelines! 

Many--perhaps most--of you reading this know that the Moderna vaccinations are four weeks apart, and the Pfizer vaccinations are three weeks apart.  

The pertinent CDC website) states that the delaying of the Pfizer vaccinations to four weeks apart probably will not wreck the vaccine's effectiveness. 

But just because Walgreens probably will not affect the effectiveness of their Pfizer vaccinated-patients doesn't mean it SHOULD delay the second dosing of the vaccine longer than is approved by the FDA and CDC. 

1) So there's no need to panic--if you got the Pfizer vaccinations four, and not three, weeks apart then you're probably OK. 

2) Walgreens is now scheduling Pfizer doses three weeks apart as recommended by the CDC. 

Yet the question of frustration and confusion among patients scared of whether they've been properly vaccinated against COVID-19 is a question that must be confronted and addressed by Walgreens, and Walgreens alone. 

And the question of why Walgreens KNEW it was dosing Pfizer vaccinations incorrectly, and because it was just easier to schedule both Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations four weeks apart for operational/bureaucratic considerations, is particularly a sobering question to be answered. 

Customers and the CDC complained, and THAT is why Walgreens is changing its policy to correctly dose Pfizer vaccinations three weeks apart. 

In short, Walgreens KNEW it was going against CDC guidelines, and is changing its vaccine administrations ONLY because of complaints rather than doing the right thing from the very start, and for which patients presumed they would be doing all along. 

There's a mad dash and elbow-swinging for Americans to become vaccinated--they're frightened and/or desperate to get back to their normal lives. 

What we do NOT need is another reason to make large numbers of our fellow Americans to have cause for concern...there are already enough real and fantastic reasons to cause panic amongst us. 

Most of us reading this probably know that the Moderna vaccine doses are four weeks apart, and that the Pfizer vaccine doses are three weeks apart. 

But pretty much all of us know that those medical/pharmaceutical entities administering vaccines are supposed to adhere to scientific and FDA/CDC guidelines...and that knowingly violating those guidelines (whether it's probably no big deal or not) is as wrong as wrong gets. 

Because too many Americans have enough on their plate to deal with this pandemic to have to now worry about being "Walgreened". 


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)