Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 vaccinations in parts of the nation that, to date, have been behind in vaccinations.
The drug store chain said vaccine administrations are up more than 30% during the past several weeks in areas of the country that have previously been slower to vaccinate, including Florida, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana. Walgreens has administered more than 29 million COVID-19 vaccines to date — approximately eight months after beginning the effort on Dec. 18, 2020.
In addition, demand for COVID-19 testing across Walgreens stores doubled chainwide in June and July. Florida, Missouri and parts of the Gulf Coast are seeing the largest increases, up 30% in testing week-over-week.
Walgreens also said it is bringing back its mask mandate for U.S. workers — regardless of vaccination status — in its stores, distribution centers and offices nationwide, effective Aug. 4. Its move comes as other retailers are also updating their mask requirements in the wake of the updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also, staffers in Walgreens’ U.S. support offices will be required to be vaccinated by Sept. 30. Employees in these locations who are unable to be vaccinated will be required to enroll in a COVID-19 testing program. So far, only one other major retailer, Walmart, has made vaccinations a requirement for some employees.
[Read More: Walmart to require all HQ staffers to be vaccinated]
The vaccination mandate does not apply to the company’s U.S. employees working in stores, distribution centers or other facilities. But Walgreens noted it “strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for all team members.”
Walgreens operates more than 9,000 stores across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.