Kroger, Walmart and Meijer begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to Hoosiers

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INDIANAPOLIS — Kroger, Walmart and Meijer will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Indiana with the guidance of the Indiana State Department of Health, officials announced this week.

State health officials said more than 470,000 Hoosiers had already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and that they are working to expand vaccine sites and appointments.

According to representatives from all three retailers, some stores in Indiana have already begun the process of administering the vaccines.

The stores’ pharmacies will follow the eligibility guidelines set by the Indiana State Department of Health, which currently offers vaccinations to any Hoosier age 70 and older, long-term care residents, first responders who have in-person contact with the public and healthcare workers who have in-person contact with patients or infectious material in any healthcare setting.

Frank Guglielmi, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Meijer told FOX59 on Thursday that 13 of their 39 Indiana stores have begun offering vaccination clinics.

“We’re thrilled to be named a partner by the State of Indiana to administer COVID vaccines. We’ve been moving in a COVID vaccine front in other states for a couple weeks now,” said Guglielmi.

Guglielmi said the company has seen success in Meijer stores in other states that have been part of the vaccination process over the last few weeks. He said in the Midwest, Meijer is closing in on around one million people who have registered to receive the vaccine.

Like the other retailers joining in on vaccine efforts in Indiana, anyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine and interested in signing up through Meijer must register one of several ways.

  • Visit Meijer’s website and complete the pre-registration forms
  • Text ‘COVID’ to 75049, where you can register, if eligible, and receive updates to your phone
  • Call or visit your Meijer pharmacy to register in person (walk-ups are not available)

Once a person registers to receive the vaccine, they will be asked a series of questions to determine where they are in the state’s phased rollout of the vaccine. The pharmacy then contacts that person to provide a vaccine appointment window, which Guglielmi said right now, are averaging approximately five minutes each.

Guglielmi said pharmacists administering the vaccine have been providing feedback to the company on the efforts so far.

“One other thing our pharmacists are seeing, it’s been a remarkably emotional activity,” said Guglielmi. “We’ve been primarily focusing on a 65 and older population so far and the amount of emotion that’s involved from our pharmacists and our patients has been kind of overwhelming in many ways.”

“It just goes to show the effect the pandemic has had and how important it is to roll these vaccines out as quickly as we can,” he shared.

At ten Walmart locations across Indiana, efforts to vaccinate Hoosiers are underway. Several of those locations began administering the vaccine to eligible recipients on Tuesday, with the rest beginning on Wednesday.

Maria Braden, Market Health and Wellness Director at Walmart said, “It’s been amazing. We started vaccinating yesterday with the COVID vaccine. Right now, we’re administering the vaccine in partnership with the State of Indiana.”

Unlike Meijer and Kroger, which are both using their own online systems to register to receive the vaccine, Walmart is using the state system through ourshot.in.gov or by calling 2-1-1.

Similar to the two other retailers, however, you must register in advance to secure an appointment.

Braden said it may feel like the vaccine rollout has come on suddenly, but she said Walmart has been preparing for the day they were given the opportunity to help with vaccination efforts.

“I can tell you from our company’s standpoint, we’ve been preparing for this vaccine as long as we’ve been going through this pandemic about what’s this gonna look like in our stores, what are the protocols that we need,” she said.

Right now, it is not clear how many doses of the vaccine Walmart locations that are offering vaccine appointments will be receiving. Braden said the demand in certain areas of the state, as well as how many doses the state receives, will determine allocation.

Walmart, Braden said, is administering the Moderna vaccine.

Braden also explained, with each appointment to be vaccinated at Walmart, people should plan to spend approximately 15 to 30 minutes after the vaccination at the location.

She said the observation period allows for health care providers to answer any questions and monitor the person receiving the vaccine to ensure everything goes as planned.

According to Braden, when people are at their vaccination appointment, they will receive information on the follow-up for their second dosage.

Walmart and Sam’s Club plan to launch online scheduling next week, so that eligible populations can sign up directly through the website, but until then people are recommended to go through the Indiana State Department of Health’s Website.

The following Walmart stores in Indiana are offering COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • Columbus – 735 Whitefield Drive
  • Muncie – 1501 E. 29th Street
  • Noblesville – 16865 Clover Road
  • New Castle – 3167 S. State Road 3
  • Greenwood – 1133 No. Emerson Road
  • Warsaw – 2501 Walton Boulevard
  • Michigan City – 5708 Franklin Street
  • Mishawaka – 316 Indian Ridge Boulevard
  • Lafayette – 2347 Veterans Memorial Parkway South
  • Terre Haute – 2399 South State Road 46

At Kroger, 45 of the company’s stores in Indiana have begun vaccinating eligible populations.

According to Eric Halvorson, Spokesperson for Kroger, they expect to receive approximately 100 doses per pharmacy, per week.

“As soon as more are available, we will put the pharmacists to work and put the shots in arms,” he said.

Like Meijer and Walmart, Kroger was contacted to begin vaccination efforts in specific locations where the state requested, such as Fishers.

“Because of the distribution of our stores, we are able to reach a lot of people very easily and conveniently in a fashion that the state maybe cannot do right now,” said Halvorson.

To register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through Kroger, you can visit their website and fill out the form.

Kroger says when more vaccines are available, the plan will “consist of a combination of large-scale vaccine events and appointments at pharmacies within Kroger and Pay Less store locations.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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