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Kroger doubling COVID-19 vaccine efforts to 1 million doses weekly

The grocery giant has been offering vaccines in general since Feb. 24, and said it has been able to significantly increase its capacity to administer doses.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — UPDDATE (Thursday, March 11): Grocery chain Kroger announced Thursday that it is now able to double its capacity to administer COVID-19 vaccine doses to 1 million a week.

Kroger said it is activating all its pharmacies and clinics within the Kroger Health network to achieve this, saying it is expanding partnerships with federal, state and local governments.

"By the end of this week, Kroger Health will have administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and we’re only getting started. We’re here to collaborate with our existing federal and state partners, and we’re ready to work with other states to accelerate the vaccination of more Americans and reach our full capacity, leveraging our 2,250 pharmacy and 220 clinic locations,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health.

Kroger said it will also dedicate the first hour of pharmacy operations as a "focus hour" to administer the three FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. It said patients will still be able to schedule appointments through the day, but the focus hour will allow more COVID-19 vaccines to be administered.

 The company is planning 100 mass vaccination off-site events nationwide beginning this month, starting with Ohio and Kentucky. 

You can learn more about vaccines available at Kroger stores here.

UPDATE 6 PM MONDAY: Grocery chain Kroger said this week it'll receive doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for administration to qualified individuals.

You must make a reservation to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kroger has been handing out vaccines to qualified recipients since Feb. 24.

While the Johnson & Johnson version of the vaccine is earlier to handle than those offered by Pfizer or Moderna, you should take advantage of the first shot opportunity you get, experts said.

 ”The convenience of a one-dose vaccine is what many who are interested in the Johnson & Johnson will likely see as the advantage there. We would encourage you to receive the first vaccine that would be available for you and that would be our recommendation as health care providers,” said Jeremy Crain, Nashville Division health and wellness leader, Kroger.

You can learn more about vaccines available at Kroger stores here.

PREVIOUS STORY: Kroger announced Wednesday it is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Health to administer COVID-19 vaccine at its pharmacies across the state.

The company said it has received a limited supply of vaccine through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership plan and will begin administering them by appointment at its 115 pharmacies across Tennessee.

Spanish Version: Kroger ofrecerá citas para vacuna contra COVID-19 a través de Tennessee

Appointments can be made by visiting kroger.com/covidvaccine or by calling 866-211-5320. 

People requesting an appointment must meet the criteria for the current phase of the vaccination plan. As of February 24, Tennessee is vaccinating people in phases 1a1, 1a2, 1b and people 65 and up -- which now includes K-12 and childcare staff.

There is no charge for the vaccine. Kroger said it has no preference between the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine because both are proven safe and effective and will use either -- depending on which one it receives from the state's allocation.

“We appreciate this collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC as we continue to work to get Tennesseans vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Jeremy Crain, health and wellness leader for the Kroger Nashville division. “We are strongly encouraging all customers and associates to receive the vaccine to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

As of February 22, the company said it has administered over 468,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine across 25 states.