Whether you’re picking up a prescription or in need of a few household essentials, you’ve likely been to your local Walgreens recently. The drugstore chain gets frequented by millions of shoppers across the U.S., with nearly 78 percent of the population living within five miles of a Walgreens store. But if you haven’t stopped by recently, you may want to change that, thanks to a new initiative that will let customers do something important at no cost to them. Read on to find out what Walgreens is doing now.
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Alongside other drugstore chains, Walgreens has been a pivotal participant in the fight against COVID. For the last two years, the company has been providing masks, COVID tests, and vaccines to millions of Americans across the U.S. It’s also expanded help to more than 60,000 long-term care facility clinics, providing vaccinations to millions of residents and staff.
“Walgreens has been a vital partner in testing and community education, and our trained immunizers have administered more than 30 million COVID-19 vaccines in stores and through dedicated clinics since the first vaccines were approved in December,” Walgreens said in an Oct. 2021 post.
Walgreens sent out a press release on May 23, announcing that it would be offering free at-home COVID tests to customers. According to the notice, the drug store chain is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labcorp to provide Labcorp’s at-home PCR collection kits at no cost for customer pickup.
“Throughout the pandemic, Labcorp has used science and innovation to make testing available to consumers in easy and convenient ways,” Amy Summy, the chief marketing officer of Labcorp, said in a statement. “Our goal is to provide everyone access to critical COVID-19 testing to improve the health and lives of those we serve. Expanding our collaboration with Walgreens to include no-cost COVID-19 tests for curbside pickup makes getting tested easier, especially for those most at risk.”
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The tests will be available for curbside and in-store pickup at more than 1,000 Walgreens stores nationally. According to the release, the program is prioritizing stores without drive-thru services that are primarily located in metropolitan areas to be participating locations. The goal is to help provide greater access COVID testing for people who cannot pay out-of-pocket for testing services, with no cost or insurance needed—especially as free testing becomes more scarce.
“With many state-operated COVID-19 testing sites closing, accessible free testing options are limited, even as cases continue to rise in certain areas of the U.S. This means some are struggling to afford critical COVID-19-related services like testing,” Walgreens President John Standley said in a statement.
This new initiative is building on a previously existing collaboration between Walgreens and Labcorp. Earlier in March, the drug store company announced that it would be offering the PCR collection kits nationwide at no cost to customers who met clinical guidelines in that they were either experiencing mild symptoms, exposed to someone with COVID, living or working in congregate setting, or asked to get tested by a healthcare professional, contact investigator, or public health department. But with COVID infections increasing again across the U.S., Walgreens is expanding eligibility.
“Walgreens is proud to expand our partnership with HHS and Labcorp to help address these barriers, particularly for uninsured, socially vulnerable and medically underserved populations who continue to be among those most impacted by COVID-19,” Standley said.
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