Kroger, Meijer Expand Flu Vaccine Services

September 26, 2020

Anticipating higher demand for the flu vaccine this season, many pharmacy chains are expanding their services.

Anticipating higher demand for the flu vaccine this season, many pharmacy chains are expanding their services.

Kroger Health is focusing on drive-through influenza vaccines as well as touchless in-store appointments, whereas Meijer is offering patients the option to fill out their vaccination forms online or on their smartphones using its new contactless texting-based pharmacy service.1,2

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer expects to administer nearly double the number of flu immunizations compared with last year, the retailer said in a news release.1

The expected increase is because of higher awareness around the need to be vaccinated, as well as a shift toward patients looking for more convenient options and flexibility, Meijer Vice President of Pharmacy Jason Beauch said.1

In fact, 1-third of flu vaccines provided by Meijer pharmacies so far this year have taken place on weekends or before/after traditional business hours, according to Beauch. Senior citizens and customers with chronic health conditions can take advantage of dedicated pharmacy hours from 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"While the flu shot will not protect against the coronavirus, getting it as soon as you can helps protect you and your family from unwanted illness and can help reduce the potential for symptoms that could be confused with COVID-19,” Beauch said.1

Meanwhile, Kroger Health’s expanded flu vaccine program includes touchless in-store appointments and drive-through vaccinations at community Flu Shot Centers across the country — both of which can be booked online. Kroger Health will also provide on-site flu vaccines programs for businesses and organizations.2

“With so many health facilities already overburdened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for all Americans to get a flu shot,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, in a news release.2 “At our COVID-19 drive-thru test sites, we were able to assist thousands of people in getting a test in a short amount of time. By using that model to provide flu shots, we hope to provide more customers with a safe, convenient option to get vaccinated.”

Flu vaccines will be administered at all of Kroger Health’s 2200 pharmacies and 223 clinics, called The Little Clinic, across 35 states, in addition to larger venues such as the Ohio State Fairgrounds and Expo Center, the Salem (Virginia) Civic Center, and the Indianapolis Zoo.

Additional drive-through Flu Shot Centers will open in various locations over the next several weeks, the company said.

Companies and other organizations can also work with Kroger Health to set up vaccine clinics for their members. “Flu shot events can be held on site with flu shots administered by Kroger Health pharmacists or nurse practitioners,” the retailer said.2

References

1. Meijer Pharmacy expects to administer 75% more flu shots this year amidst pandemic. Meijer; September 23, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020. http://newsroom.meijer.com/2020-09-23-Meijer-Pharmacy-Expects-to-Administer-75-Percent-More-Flu-Shots-This-Year-Amidst-Pandemic

2. Kroger Health expands flu shot program to help combat the challenges of COVID-19. Kroger Health; September 8, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020. https://www.krogerhealth.com/news/kroger-health-expands-flu-shot-program-help-combat-challenges-covid-19