Walgreens says it has administered more than 29 million COVID - 19 vaccines so far

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Aug 4 - Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance said on Wednesday it had administered more than 29 million COVID - 19 vaccines at its stores so far, led by a surge in parts of the United States which had lagged in vaccinations.

Vaccine administration shot more than 30% in states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky in the past few weeks, the chain said.

The company, among the largest U.S. pharmacy chains, said in June that it expects to administer 28 million vaccines this year.

Walgreens also said it made masks mandatory for its U.S. employees and required staff working at U.S. support offices to be fully vaccinated, the latest company to update its policies as COVID - 19 cases rise in the United States.

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask as well as surging cases due to the more infectious Delta variant have led companies to rethink their policies.

Walgreens said on Wednesday that it also encouraged all customers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear masks.

It said the vaccination mandate, which requires employees to be inoculated by Sept. 30, does not apply for U.S. employees working in stores, distribution centers or other facilities.

On Tuesday, Tyson Foods Inc, Microsoft Corp and Detroit's Big Three automakers updated their vaccine and masking policies.