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02/17/2021

Kroger seeks to meet high demand with online vaccine scheduling tool 

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kroger vaccination

The Kroger Co. can manage more than 250,000 daily requests for COVID-19 vaccine appointments online.

Kroger Health, the health care division of the nation’s largest supermarket retailer, is rolling out a new vaccine scheduling platform. The online solution will reflect the amount of vaccine doses confirmed within Kroger's system while allowing customers to check vaccine eligibility and create appointments as availability of the vaccine increases. 

Customers will also have the ability to book appointments for both their first and second doses at the same time. Kroger has implemented advanced security measures to deter bot activity within the platform, ensuring maximum appointment availability. The retailer is also streamlining customer access to COVID-19 testing with a new smartphone-based, at-home rapid testing kit.

Concurrent with its scheduling tool rollout, Kroger Health's COVID-19 vaccine support call center has partnered with the IBM Watson artificial intelligence (AI) platform to create an AI-powered seamless phone experience for patients. Watson will share answers to frequently asked questions and reduce the wait time for patients, making appointments by transferring them to a care representative as needed. 

As of Feb. 16, 2021, Kroger Health says it has administered more than 380,000 COVID-19 vaccines in 25 states to essential health care workers, skilled-nursing facilities, elderly populations, educators and eligible associates. Kroger Health is now receiving and administering vaccines at 1,300 of its 2,200 pharmacies. If all pharmacy locations begin to receive doses of the vaccine, Kroger Health estimates it could administer an average of nearly 500,000 vaccinations per week.

"Kroger Health's priority is the safety of our customers, associates and communities," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. "Thanks to our incredible team of health professionals and technology experts, we've been able to streamline the vaccine rollout process across our family of pharmacies during these ever-changing times. As more vaccines become available nationwide, our pharmacies and clinics will be ready and able to administer thousands of doses to our communities every day. Our new online scheduling tool and improved call center experience will allow us to easily scale to meet demand once more vaccine doses are available to Kroger Health."