Tue. Jan 18th, 2022


Nam Y. Huh/AP Images

  • Americans are flocking to pharmacies in search of COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.

  • Retail pharmacists have told Insider that demand for tests has caused chaos in some stores.

  • I visited Walgreens and CVS to see what they’re like right now.

First I went to a Walgreens store in Rochester, New York to see if there were any COVID-19 at-home tests or other supplies.

Walgreens masks

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Hours were posted on the door. Some Walgreens locations have cut hours around the country because they don’t have enough workers.

Walgreens hours

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Source: Insider

Upon entering the store, there was a small holding area for carts with sanitizing wipes to use on them.

Walgreens carts and paper towels

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Toilet paper and paper towels were displayed right up front too, and seemed to be well stocked.

Walgreens carts

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

I walked up and down the aisles, where the store initially looked like it had at any point in my life.

Walgreens makeup aisle

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

A few aisles had some empty spaces on shelves, like the deodorant section, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Walgreens deodorant

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Some of the empty shelf space may not actually be due to shortages, but instead the result of employees who don’t have time to restock. The orange tags on this aisle were for clearance items, most of which have already been snapped up.

Walgreens

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Source: Insider

The pharmacy is located in the back of the store, with chairs and waiting areas for people to get vaccinated.

Walgreens seating area

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Over-the-counter medications for cold and flu are stocked nearby.

Walgreens medications

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Many of these medications were in low stock, with sections of shelves empty.

Walgreens cold and flu medicine

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The other main section with empty shelves was in a section of COVID-19 prevention supplies, including masks and gloves.

Walgreens empty shelves

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Hand sanitizer shelves were partially emptied, too.

Walgreens empty shelves

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Aisle end caps that looked to be set up to display COVID-19 necessities, like masks, were almost totally emptied.

Walgreens health

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Cold medicines and supplements promising to boost immune systems also looked picked over, though it is winter.

Walgreens cold medicine

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Some cleaning products, like soap, detergent, and Febreze spray seemed less stocked than normal, although there were still some available.

Walgreens cleaning products

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Otherwise, the Walgreens looked normal and wasn’t very crowded midday on a Tuesday.

Walgreens aisles

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The center of the store was already dedicated to Valentine’s Day in mid-January.

Walgreens valentines day

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Most other customers I saw during my visit made beelines for the pharmacy section of the store, possibly looking for COVID-19 tests.

Walgreens alcohol

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

While most non-medical areas of the store were fully stocked, workers told me that there were no COVID-19 tests.

Walgreens alcohol

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Next, I went to a CVS about a mile away.

CVS hiring

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The store was set up very similarly to Walgreens, with empty shelves mostly limited to the cold medicine section.

CVS cold medicines

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Cold medicine and pain reliever shelves seemed messy and picked over.

CVS cold medicine

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

A small area selling air purifiers was also very disheveled.

CVS air purifiers

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Like Walgreens, products with immune system-boosting claims seemed to be running low.

CVS vitamins

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Cleaning sprays and Lysol wipes were running low, reminiscent of reports from 2020.

CVS cleaning

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Source: Insider

Most hand sanitizers were off the shelves too, except for the CVS store brand.

CVS shelves

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Also like Walgreens, many of the end caps were dedicated to health and wellness products and looked somewhat messy.

CVS shelves

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Face masks were displayed in small quantities throughout the store.

CVS masks

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Signs throughout the pharmacy area told customers that there were no COVID-19 tests for sale.

CVS covid-19 tests

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Neither store was totally out of anything besides COVID-19 tests, but messy and emptying shelves of masks, cold medicine, and cleaning products definitely reminded me of spring 2020.

CVS

Thompson Reuters

Read the original article on Business Insider

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