FDA Authorization Spurs Fresh COVID-19 Vax Programs

Meijer, other retailers ramp up for high patient volumes
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
FDA Authorization Spurs Fresh COVID-19 Vax Programs
Meijer expects to administer booster vaccines to a sizable amount of eligible patients.

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for those over the age of 65 and other Americans with chronic health conditions, grocers are again boosting their own vaccine efforts. On Sept. 23, Meijer announced that it is scaling up to offer jabs to eligible patients regardless of where they received their original shot.

The Michigan-based retailer anticipates a high volume of vaccine administrations heading into the fall and winter season and at a time when efficacy of the original shots may be waning.

"We know that thousands of people are eligible now, including those who received their initial vaccine series at clinics that no longer exist, so we want to make it easy for patients to schedule their booster dose when it works for them," said Jackie Morse, Meijer’s VP of pharmacy. "Regardless of where you received your original vaccination, it's important to know that our teams are here for you."

Eligible patients who received their original Pfizer shots from Meijer will be contacted via text to schedule their booster. Those who did not receive their first doses from Meijer can schedule an appointment or walk into a store pharmacy.  

According to company information, Meijer has given nearly 1.9 million vaccine doses to combat COVID-19. The retailer is running a parallel effort to keep consumers safe by encouraging them to get their flu shots ahead of the traditional influenza season. The flu shot and COVID-19 can be administered at the same time, they said.

Other food retailers with pharmacy operations are likewise gearing up for another round of COVID-19 vaccines and annual flu shots. In August, The Kroger Co. announced that it is planning to administer one million booster shots once available and recommended for the general public. Hy-Vee, for its part, has been offering free boosters to eligible patients on a walk-in basis for a few weeks.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 257 supercenters and grocery stores and is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Cincinnati-based Kroger runs almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names and is No. 3 on The PG 100. West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee  operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states and is ranked No. 34.

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