Kroger Health to provide COVID-19 vaccine nationwide
The healthcare division of The Kroger Co. is ramping up to provide the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide across its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics.
Kroger Health, which is partnering with the federal government and state health departments to administer the vaccine in accordance with the rollout plan, is hiring nearly 1,000 health care personnel, including pharmacy technicians, to support the operation. Earlier this month, Walmart announced it was mobilizing its national network of in-store pharmacies to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The size and scale of our health care operation provides us with the unique ability to efficiently facilitate COVID-19 testing and immunize a large portion of the U.S. population, once the authorized vaccines become more widely available,” said Colleen Lindholz, Kroger Health’s president.
During the last few months, Kroger Health has worked closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense as well as the pharmaceutical companies and other businesses to prepare for vaccine authorization. It will support the “phased approach,” focusing first on priority populations as defined by federal and state governments. It will begin to administer the Pfizer- BioNTech SE vaccine to health care workers in Anchorage and Juneau this week in partnership with the state of Alaska.
Kroger continues to advocate on behalf of associates for essential workers to have priority access to the vaccine in line with the organization’s efforts earlier this year to help associates access personal protection equipment like masks and gloves.
“As one of the most-accessible health care partners in the U.S., Kroger Health is prepared and ready to play an active role in helping distribute the vaccine in collaboration with public health officials and community partners,” said Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger Health’s chief medical officer. “Our most urgent priority throughout this pandemic has been to protect and provide a safe environment for our associates and patients while meeting our societal obligation to provide open stores, e-commerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our communities have access to fresh, affordable food, essentials and health care.”