Leave Walgreens Alone. They're Doing a Better Job Than the FDA and the CDC.

Yet the company is still getting stupidly scolded by public health busybodies


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the second doses of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered up to six weeks after the first dose. To stretch out vaccine supplies in order to protect more people from infection sooner, the United Kingdom in December decided to delay second doses for 12 weeks. Current data indicates that this calculated risk has paid off. Germany is now following the British example. Public health authorities in Canada have lengthened the interval between first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses to four months.

All too predictably, the hypercautious U.S. Food and Drug Administration railed against these changes in vaccine dosing schedules. In fact, the U.S. should have adopted the British strategy of protecting more people faster.

So it's a bit rich that Walgreens is now being chastised for delaying the administration of second doses of the Pfizer vaccine from three weeks to four. "It is not the role of a private, for-profit company to make public health decisions that should be determined by guidelines issued by a public health authority," scolds Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University in The New York Times.

The company explained that it had matched the Moderna four-week second dosing schedule by delaying the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine by one week in order to get their vaccine tracking system up and running faster.

So what public health horror did Walgreens perpetrate on its customers? None at all. Consider that the CDC finds that the first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 80 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infections. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 72 percent effective at preventing mild and moderate disease. Keep in mind that all three are essentially 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.

The upshot is that it is likely that fewer of Walgreens' customers would have been vaccinated by now if the company had been forced to wait to roll out vaccines until after its tracking system had been reconfigured.

Finally, if the U.S. had adopted the U.K.'s vaccination scheduling, nearly 170 million Americans could have been protected from the virus by now instead of 108 million.

Disclosure: I have received both doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

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  1. >>the hypercautious U.S. Food and Drug Administration

    ran a barely tested vaccine out and into arms in a matter of months.

    1. Nine months. And people still shitting their pants that we went so fast. Gosh, won’t something think of the process?

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    2. No, they really didn’t.

      The vaccine was created and pushed out so fast because Trump stepped in and forced it.

      If it was up to the FDA we’d get the vaccine around 2030.

      1. sorry I was stressing the “barely tested” part I’m pretty sure everyone’s eyes will fall out soon …

    3. “barely tested”

      Yeah only decades of research combined with multiple clinical trials with thousands of participants across age and other factors, fine by two different companies (Pfizer and Moderna) whose drug is pretty much identical do there is not really a possibility one works and not the other … barely tested? I thought this was a libertarian magazine! If reason had their way you would have “barely tested” drugs on the market!

  2. We will look back on this entire episode with deep regret.

  3. Now do Publix

  4. We use private markets to provision our homes, our clothing, and our food. The things highest on our priorities. Food, clothing, and shelter.

    So why to people freak out when private markets provision other necessities, like healthcare and education? We’re not talking about ROADZ here, we’re talking about a vaccine. Jeepers Cripes, this isn’t rocket science.

    Ivory Tower Professors need to chill out and be thankful that people are getting vaccinated at a fast rate. The goal is not slavish fellatio of the state, but getting to some semblance of herd immunity so we can tell the karens to shut the fuck up.

    1. No, the goal, as it always has been, is power.

      How can the Karen’s and ivory tower professors have power if people can’t be forced to do what they tell them?

  5. “So what public health horror did Walgreens perpetrate on its customers?”

    Strawman alert. No one accused them of visiting horror upon their customers. There was some confusion because of a lack of transparency and the paying customers wanted an explanation. A doctor expressed an opinion questioning whether it was appropriate for the company to decide without explanation to change the schedule. It sounds like the pharmacy made the right call.

    1. Yet the company is still getting stupidly scolded by public health busybodies

      1. And if something were to go wrong Walgreens could be sued into the dirt.

        1. So your answer is to let government power abuse everything it touches. That sounds like the good leftist douche that you are lard ass.

          1. You’re confused and it sounds like you’re trying to fit this into a larger antigiovt agenda. In this case, govt was shielding Walgreens from the consequences of selling the vaccines but when Walgreens decided to change things they assumed the risk. Hopefully, and it sounds like has, it all works out.

        2. And if the government did something wrong tough luck getting compensated.

          1. And if it doesn’t work out, Walgreens would still be the only party to a real lawsuit as well as major financial loss (due to a severely damaged reputation), partly because of the way the media and public opinion works. You know full well that the government doesn’t care one way or another about shielding Walgreens. The CDC already said that 42 days isn’t a problem–so why should Walgreens ever “get sued into the dirt?” Makes no fucking sense in a real world not populated by government sycophants and apologists.

            The government always gets to wash their hands clean, no matter how culpable they have been of malpractice (I know of a couple people who died at their literal hands, with absolutely no recourse).

            They even manipulated the cigarette manufacturers into a similar trap:
            1. Force cigarettes to carry anti-smoking warnings, which would then allow users to make their own knowledgable choices (1965)
            2. Sue the hell out of them a couple generations later, even though the manufacturers complied with the government-sanctioned warnings.

            But hey, “anti government nuts” and all that.

            1. anyone elsethink that just MAYBE the proffessinals at a big outfit likeWalgreens might know a tning or two about all this stuff? Probalby better versed and far more knoledgable than that Faut Chee guy, who as far as I remember is not even a medical doctor……. Walgreens are not stupid, or careless. Vaccines have been around quite a while, though I’ll grant this one is not even really a vaccine, and is new untested unproven technology never before squirted into humans. Seems Da Gummit Dweebs are all about poking as many people as possible as fast as possible, never mind we really don’t KNOW what’s gonna happen.
              Just read a few minutes ago about some large percentage of twice-dosed folks in Washington State have now got the Covid, and a signficant number of them have died. Makes me glad I did not get the thing……. I’ll take my chances on being able to beat the virus way over taking my chances on this newfangled unproven poke in the eye, I mean arm. Never got the flu vaccines as they came out all new and shiney each year, nor have I ever gotten those flou bugs. Nope, Not once. Take yer videyums folks, never mind the poke in the arm.

        3. 4 weeks is within the CDC window for the 2nd dose. They aren’t even acting against CDC guidelines…

    2. Yeah, strawman alert. None of your post happened, but good job arguing about it

      1. “But Walgreens’s decision, which it didn’t publicly announce, confused some customers and caught the attention of federal health officials.”

        ‘I’m not happy about it,” Ms. DeTurris Poust said. “It gives me one extra week of not being protected, so it means there’s one more week that I’m worried about catching it from someone, or giving it to someone.”

        1. No protection from the magic mask?

        2. Ms. DeTurris Proust is claiming that she is “unprotected” after having received one dose of the vaccine weeks ago? I’m over 50, and I’m at least one week away from getting my first. She can go fuck herself long and hard. You too.

        3. Poor, poor Ms Poust. I hope her cats comfort her.

  6. So what public health horror did Walgreens perpetrate on its customers?

    It undermined confidence in their government overlords!

  7. Disclosure: I have received both doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

    Disclosure: I had 2 shots of Kentucky bourbon. They weren’t 2 weeks apart.

    1. I’ve been sampling different 100 proofs lately they’re bitey-er

  8. “Global health law professor.” This shouldn’t be a thing.

  9. I dunno, Walgreens in Missouri thinks we’re still in Tier 1A with the vaccine eligibility, when we’ve been in Tier 1B for almost a month and opened up Tier 2 last Monday. I couldn’t sign up for a shot with them at all. I had to go to a local private medical office instead.

    If that’s going on and they are STILL doing better than the feds, that’s bad.

  10. Walgreens is in the right in this case, BUT never forget that it sold the Theranos fraudulent tests to its customers.

  11. It’s one of humanity’s largest mobilizations ever. There are bound to be hiccups. Doctors and nurses have been doing our collective bidding without rest for a year, fueled by little more than ethical codes that are better than yours. Nitpick the CDC all you like, your real problem is much bigger.

    It must be quite jarring for libertarians now that Trump firebombed any remaining facade of free-market capitalism in the Republican party. His incompetence and narcissism cost us half a million human lives, but at least we got that out of it. He was at least smart enough to know that presidents only get credit for doing big things.

    Now that the people have noticed how collective action is necessary and good, and only increasingly so as problems become more global, why do you think we’ll stop at a pandemic? We have a global clean energy infrastructure to invent. We have exoplanets to colonize.

    Maybe one day even libertarians will realize that the only reason they have sweaty dollar bills in their clenched fists at all is because of humanity’s capacity to do large things collectively.

    1. Libertarians realize the choice between isolationism and massive coordination by decree is a false one.

    2. Anyway, it’s inspiring that democrats have learned just how valuable pharmaceutical companies are. Exactly how much should they earn for making a new vaccine in less than a year? Free, right?

      I’m sure that way of thinking will pay dividends in the future.

      1. I don’t agree with the categories you are implying. Those pharmaceutical companies were paid with infinite government money to do a job.

        There is only one type of person, Brian. Someone can do a good job in the private sector or a bad job in the public sector or vice versa. A nationalized healthcare industry would see more life-saving drugs and fewer profitable boner pills, perhaps, but the scientists and employees behind the products are just people doing work. I don’t care whether the people are paid directly by the federal government or if it’s filtered through private middle management and HR. It’s not the difference between communism and capitalism.

        Stop foisting your own stereotypes on me.

        1. Stop foisting my stereotypes on you? Oh, poor Tony. It’s all so unfair, isn’t it?

          Your agreement with categories is meaningless.

          So the pharmaceutical companies are receiving and infinite amount of money to vaccinate everyone? That’s your efficiency? Paying pharmaceutical companies an infinite amount of money?

          “When it really matters, we’ll give the evil villains infinite amounts of money!”

          At least that part is working out better than their long-term investment in failed vaccine companies:

          Maybe government should leave the long-term planning to people who know what they’re doing?

          1. So which country is letting the free market vaccinate its people?

            There are investments and then there are investments like trying to save millions of people from dying horrible deaths. How would pharma do in a depression?

            1. Who is required by law to get vaccinated?

              And how is it possible for a normal tax to make up for infinite resource allocation by the state?

              Have you thought this through? Is this really supposed to end in material equality?

              1. I hope not. You’re right about long-term planning, though. It’s hard to do that with a government designed by ancient farmers who didn’t know viruses from a hole in the ground. Also hard with an electoral system designed to maximize the likelihood of civil war.

                Planning is planning. Go back to my original point. Human beings are all the same type of animal, whether they work for Exxon or the IRS. You may like to think that people getting a paycheck from one employer vs. another are categorically useless people, but that’s borderline problematic stereotyping and beneath you.

                Let’s try it my way and have competent people on private boards and in the White House and see how that goes, rather than your way of putting incompetent people in charge of the largest organization in the known universe just to prove a philosophical point.

                1. So, next time someone complains about wealth distribution, a perfectly valid response would be, we don’t want equality. We want competent people who can solve problems getting resources. When you can cure a pandemic, go ahead and get more resources. Until then, let’s not not whine about how unfair it is that you can’t buy nice things just for converting oxygen into carbon dioxide and bitching on the internet. After all, millions of lives depend on it.”

  12. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the second doses of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered up to six weeks after the first dose.

    Nobody ever said administering the doses closer together in time was safer. The only question was what interval would maximize efficacy. As usual for booster immunizations, we still don’t know. A lot of vaccine schedules are guesswork.

  13. “instead of 108 million.”

    Biden says it’s 150 million.


  14. “It is not the role of a private, for-profit company to make public health decisions that should be determined by guidelines issued by a public health authority,”

    Obey *Us*.

  15. I got my first Phizer COVID-19 vaccine yesterday from a certain un-named “Complicated Empire.” The funny thing is…all I did was go up to the Pharmacist’s Assistant and ask if there were any appointments! She then said there was an empty slot ready to be filled now! So I giddily filled out the forms, she administered the shot, I said thanks, and am waiting for the secod visit in 3 weeks!

    (Pro tip: The apps are good at listing the sites for vaccine availabilty, but the appointment availability is only as good as the information submitted on the app, which can change rapidly with missed appointments. Going in person to ask probably works best. If you don’t get in, at least you’ll more than likely get an appointment.)

    I take regular annul vaccines, so there wasn’t even an achy arm! I was woozy from what I chalked up as a sugar overdose I ate earlier, but 30 minutes on the stationary bike pedals fixed that.

    Anywho, I plan to live to fight many more battles for freedom for many more days! If “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” then you might as well start getting eternal somewhere!

    Three cheers for the faculty of Reason, the practice of Science, and good old God Damn Godless Free-Market Capitalism! (What’s left of it anyway!)

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