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Patients receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Copes pharmacy in Streatham on February 04 in London, England. Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Vaccine side effect for pharmacies: It's a boon for business.

Why it matters: Pharmacies are at the forefront of the biggest countrywide undertaking of our lifetime, the vaccination rollout.

Then: The onset of the pandemic crushed sales as in-store customers and prescriptions slowed to a crawl.

  • Now: Shots bring people into pharmacies, where they have to hang out during the 15-minute observation period — creating a big opportunity for sales.

Driving the news: The Biden administration this week expanded the number of pharmacies eligible for vaccine supply from the government. (States can allocate doses, too.)

  • Later this month, 40,000 of the nation's 57,000 pharmacies will be able to administer shots — up from 17,000.

The backdrop: Pharmacies had been under pressure as competitors (like Amazon and other big-box retailers) strengthened their foothold.

  • Walgreens expects to "increase traffic" as shots are administered in their stores, then "personalize" what they learn about those customers coming into the store, CEO Rosalind Brewer told analysts Wednesday.
  • The company has upped expectations for how much money it will rake in this year, thanks in part to a more aggressive vaccination timeline — and higher government reimbursements for each shot (now $40 apiece, up from $28 for the first dose and $16 for the second dose — though it's not guaranteed).

By the numbers: Pharmacies have more capacity for shots, if they get supply.

  • CVS said today it has given more than 10 million vaccine doses across 44 states. The chain says it could administer up to 25 million shots per month.
  • Walgreens has administered 8 million vaccines at stores, nursing homes and vaccination sites — with half in March alone.
  • Rite Aid has given more than 1 million vaccines since the beginning of last month.

Go deeper: Demand for vaccines is already waning in some parts of the country

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

All about the boards

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's been a bad week for the idea that boards of directors are bulwarks against C-suite malfeasance. On the other hand, it's been a good week for rubber stamp manufacturers.

Driving the news: The board of media startup Ozy Media chose not to investigate a blatant fraud perpetrated by one of its top executives against Goldman Sachs, which was in talks to invest in Ozy.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senators grill top Pentagon leaders over Biden's Afghanistan exit

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, are testifying before Congress for the first time since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The latest: Austin said in his opening statement that military leaders began planning for a non-combatant evacuation of Kabul as early as the spring, and that this is the only reason U.S. troops were able to start the operation so quickly when the Taliban captured the city. "Was it perfect? Of course not," Austin acknowledged.

Congress must raise the debt limit by Oct. 18, Yellen warns

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a press conference at the Capitol on Sept. 23. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter Tuesday that the United States will likely begin to default on its loans shortly after Oct. 18 if Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt ceiling by then.

Why it matters: The U.S. has never defaulted on its financial obligations, and Yellen has previously warned that doing so would cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets.