Federal and state officials are tapping regional and supermarket-based pharmacies to help expedite the administration of Kovid-19 vaccines amid a slow-to-planned rollout.
Rite Aid Corp., Kroger Co., Stop & Shop Supermarkets LLC and other retailers are being asked to step up and provide vaccines to front-line workers and other vulnerable people. While the timeline is weeks earlier than planned, the companies say they hope to test and troubleshoot the protocol before distributing the vaccine to the public.
“We are getting calls according to need,” said Coleen Lindholz, president of Kroger’s health care business. Officials in South Carolina and Georgia reached out to Kröger this week, and the company is providing shots to health care professionals in its stores and sending staff to long-term facilities in Alaska, West Virginia, Texas and Arkansas.
Officials at Kroger and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., two of the largest retailers involved in the vaccine effort, expressed disappointment about the slow-to-rollout required due to holdups at the state and federal levels.
Kröger is also exploring ways to hold large events in community centers and stadiums that would allow 600 to 800 people to be vaccinated at a time, Ms. Lindholz said. He said that the largest grocery work in the country can protect a large number of people if it has more reach.