Source: Getty

How Walgreens Makes Money Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic


Jan. 5 2021, Published 10:44 a.m. ET

Walgreens has continued to be a source of health-related items and pharmacy services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Walgreens’ services are especially suitable like prescription delivery. 

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Free COVID-19 testing has been part of Walgreens’ services for months now. Recently, the company started assisting in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Residents and staff in long-term-care facilities have been receiving the vaccine first. When vaccines start to be administered in-store, Walgreens could see its revenue and foot traffic increase.  

walgreens covid vaccine
Source: Walgreens Facebook
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Walgreens delivers prescriptions

Walgreens offers home prescription delivery through several different programs. With Walgreens Express delivery, certain prescriptions may be delivered within 1–2 business days for free. Standard online shipping is also free but takes 5–10 business days.  

Expedited online shipping costs $12.95 to receive your medications within two days, while overnight online delivery costs $19.95 to receive it the next day.  

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Walgreens offers COVID-19 testing

Walgreens stores have been offering drive-through COVID-19 testing. Currently, the testing is available to individuals age 3 and older. Testing for COVID-19 is free for anyone who meets the CDC criteria. However, patients can be billed the full testing cost of $129 if it isn't covered by insurance, a voucher, or a government assistance program.  

To sign up for a COVID-19 test, you must complete a short screening survey and make an appointment at your local Walgreens. Testing is completed as drive-thru, so individuals don't need to leave their vehicle.  

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How Walgreens handles COVID-19 vaccine appointments

The Walgreens informational website noted that starting on December 21, 2020, Walgreens pharmacy team members would start administering COVID-19 vaccines in about 800 long-term-care facilities across 12 states. By Dec. 28, the company planned to expand to 39 more states for residents and staff at these facilities.  

Walgreens follows the CDC and individual state guidelines to determine the order in which people receive the vaccine. Long-term-care facility residents and staff and other healthcare workers are prioritized first for vaccinations.   

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walgreens testing and vaccines
Source: Walgreens Facebook

Walgreens will provide COVID-19 vaccines as they are made available. Since the pharmacy chain includes over 9,000 store locations, the company will play a significant role in the vaccine distribution phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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The vaccines aren't available for the general public yet. Walgreens said that it will continue to expand the COVID-19 vaccine services as more vaccines get approval and the inventory of vaccine doses increases.  

Walgreens expects to be able to provide vaccines to the general population at its store locations in the spring of 2021. The vaccines will be offered at no cost.  

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Walgreens doesn't profit directly from the COVID-19 vaccine

Although Walgreens doesn't directly profit from the COVID-19 vaccine, its involvement in vaccine distribution will likely boost its business. The pandemic reduced the foot traffic in Walgreens' stores, but vaccines could change that trend.  

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available and people flock to Walgreens and CVS stores to get vaccinated, the stores may see an uptick in sales. The Motley Fool noted that CVS plans to expand in several areas to take advantage of the opportunity as more people go to its stores and “Walgreens is undoubtedly doing the same.”  


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