Coronavirus: CVS Health aims to hire 25K ahead of flu season, COVID-19 boosters

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health Corp. announced Monday that it plans to fill as many as 25,000 pharmacy and retail jobs ahead of flu season and the United States’ expected push to administer COVID-19 booster vaccine shots.

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According to The Wall Street Journal, severe staffing shortages have prompted some of the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain to close some drive-through pharmacy lanes and even turn away some customers seeking shots.

The company, which recently raised minimum hourly wages for employees to $15, confirmed to CNBC that most of the available jobs are for full-time, part-time and temporary licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses, but some retail positions will also be filled.

>> Related: CVS to raise minimum wage to $15, eliminate educational requirements for some jobs

CVS said on Monday that a Sept. 24 virtual hiring campaign should help the chain keep pace with increasing inoculation demand, while also helping it manage high-volume COVID-19 testing, the network reported.

Job seekers can start the application process via text or on the company’s website, interview virtually and potentially get hired immediately, the company stated, noting in-person applications will not be accepted, the Journal reported.

Neela Montgomery, who has been president of CVS’s pharmacy retail unit since November 2020, told the newspaper that the increased demand is “testing our role in the community.”

“But provided we staff up the way we intend to, we’re going to make our way through this,” Montgomery added.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday endorsed booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults older than 65 years and those at high risk of severe disease.

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CVS, which has administered more than 34 million COVID-19 vaccines and more than 32 million COVID-19 tests, said in March 2020 that it would hire 50,000 employees to assist patients and customers during the coronavirus outbreak. Some 15,000 of those positions were filled during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2020, CNBC reported.

>> Related: Coronavirus: CVS hiring thousands ahead of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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