Pharmacy & Healthcare

Stephen Colbert takes Dr. Anthony Fauci for COVID booster at Walgreens

Walgreens pharmacy manager Jamal Downer talks about vaccinating Dr. Anthony Fauci during the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Elyse Russo, Walgreens Stories
Walgreens pharmacy manager Jamal Downer gives Dr. Anthony Fauci his COVID-19 booster shot during a live television segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

New York City-based pharmacy manager Jamal Downer says he’s vaccinated a lot of high-profile people against COVID-19. So when Stephen Colbert brought Dr. Anthony Fauci to Walgreens for a COVID-19 booster shot, Downer says he wasn’t nervous at all.

“He's actually only the third most famous person I've vaccinated,” Downer told Colbert as Fauci prepared for his shot.

And despite Colbert’s best efforts for the rest of the segment, Downer wouldn’t disclose who celebrities No. 1 and 2 were.

Stephen Colbert and Dr. Anthony Fauci share a laugh before Fauci rolls up his sleeve for his COVID booster shot at Walgreens. Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

“The hardest part was actually filling out Dr. Fauci’s vaccination card. It’s something I do all the time but I didn’t want to mess it up,” Downer says, admitting that his hands were shaking as he wrote out the vaccine lot number. “I thought, ‘This is the most important thing I’m going to do all day.’”

Dr. Fauci’s booster shot at Walgreens Store #14297 was televised live on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Wednesday night, and Downer says everything went smoothly thanks to his fellow team members working behind the scenes.

“Everyone did a great job making the store look perfect and making sure all the customers were taken care of so that when it came time to shoot, it went off without a hitch,” he says.
Stephen Colbert and Dr. Anthony Fauci try on cat ears at Walgreens and remind viewers to get their COVID booster shots. Photo screenshot from YouTube clip.

Downer had the opportunity to meet both Fauci and Colbert as they were rehearsing the segment.

“Dr. Fauci is very humble and a man of few words. He doesn’t really think of himself as a celebrity,” Downer says. “Stephen was very friendly and chatted with us a lot.”

But Colbert and Fauci weren’t all business on their visit. They were smiling and laughing as they walked around the Walgreens store, even pausing to check out the Halloween merchandise. At one point, they tried on some fuzzy cat ears before looking at the camera with Fauci saying seriously: “Don't forget to get your booster.”

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Watch Fauci's entire visit to Walgreens below: