Meijer Pharmacies prepare for eventual COVID-19 vaccine rollout
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As more pharmaceutical manufacturers move closer to approved COVID-19 vaccines, pharmacies within Meijer locations are gearing up for an extensive vaccine administration program throughout its six-state footprint.
“Throughout this pandemic our stores and store teams have played an important role in supporting communities throughout the Midwest,” Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. “We are aggressively preparing for the next phase of this challenge, which will be to ensure our communities have the ability to quickly and safely obtain a COVID-19 vaccine once they become available.”
It’s important as companies like Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca expect to have vaccines approved within the next 90 to 120 days. Having them more widely available in communities means more people can get vaccinated sooner and more conveniently.
To maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the U.S. government’s partnership with numerous pharmacies such as Meijer.
Pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians routinely provide vaccinations in retail and grocery stores. Therefore, the federal government has recognized pharmacy vaccinators as crucial public health partners for increasing access and convenience of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I’m very proud of our Meijer team and our partnership with the CDC and HHS to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to our communities once its available,” Meijer Vice President of Pharmacy Jason Beauch said. “Our pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians throughout the Midwest continue to prepare for the unprecedented challenge of vaccinating a very large number of people in the near future.”
As it prepares for vaccines to eventually be distributed, Meijer is focusing on a variety of initiatives to help it seamlessly provide COVID-19 vaccines to a large number of patients. This includes the development of specific technical solutions to help the retailer to manage both the volume of patients and the need for follow up to ensure patients receive a second dose in a timely manner when required.
Additionally, the company is looking at physical spaces and locations for large-scale clinics, similar to the seasonal flu shot clinics the retailer conducted this Fall at large stadiums and outdoor locations.
Meijer also has the potential to host COVID-19 clinics inside its stores, as many of its stores are more than 200,000 square feet.
The Meijer Pharmacy Team recently went mobile to ensure anyone who may not have had easy access to a seasonal flu shot was able to get vaccinated.
While the seasonal flu shot cannot protect against the coronavirus, it can help protect individuals and reduce the potential for symptoms that could be confused with COVID-19, Beauch said.