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January 10, 2022

Around the nation: Walgreens' profits lifted by surging demand for Covid-19 tests and vaccines

Daily Briefing

    Walgreens Boots Alliance saw its highest profit increase in 20 years amid the latest surge in demand for Covid-19 tests and vaccines, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia.

    • Connecticut: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) on Thursday signed an order requiring Covid-19 vaccine boosters for nursing home workers who have significant contact with residents—a move that comes as the state experiences an increase in Covid-19 cases among workers. Under the order, workers are required to get a booster dose by Feb. 11. The order will apply to roughly 3,600 employees who work at state-run chronic care hospitals, as well as staff at long-term care facilities, including assisted living and residential care homes. Connecticut joined California and New Mexico as one of the first states to impose a booster mandate for nursing home employees. (AP/Modern Healthcare, 1/6; Office of Governor Ned Lamont press release, 1/6)
    • Illinois: Walgreens Boots Alliance increased its profit projections for the remainder of its fiscal year, largely due to a surge in demand for at-home Covid-19 tests, drive-thru tests, and vaccines amid the latest surge of the virus. Notably, the company's sales in health and wellness products during its most recent quarter reflected a 25% increase year over year, an increase driven almost entirely by the demand for rapid tests. According to the company, Walgreens employees administered 56 million Covid-19 vaccines and conducted 23 million Covid-19 tests during 2021—with 15.6 million vaccines and 6.5 million tests being administered in the latest quarter, which ended Nov. 30. (Terlep/Feuer, Wall Street Journal, 1/6; AP/Modern Healthcare, 1/6; Herman, Axios, 1/7)
    • West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Thursday announced that he would ask CDC for permission to offer a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to essential workers and state residents 50 and older. In his announcement, Justice alluded to Israel's recent approval of a fourth vaccine dose for populations vulnerable to Covid-19. "We've got to do something," Justice said. "Either we sit back and just let our people die and we sit back and let our hospitals be overrun, or we try. If the CDC comes back and says no we can't do this now, and then there's enough governors that go together, we'll sure go with them. And then we may get across the finish line that way." (AP/Modern Healthcare, 1/6)

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