Albertsons Cos. is shoring up operations at its 1,700-plus pharmacy locations just in time for the flu season — and for the new COVID-19 boosters.
The Boise, Idaho-based food and drug retailer said Monday that investments in technology, vaccine inventory and patient services will bolster immunization access and personalized care across its roster of retail banners, which are administering flu vaccines as well as the recently authorized Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna bivalent COVID-19 boosters.
And as an incentive, for every immunization received at an Albertsons Cos. pharmacy, recipients will receive a coupon eligible for 10% off their next grocery purchase up to $200 and access to a free digital vaccine record.
“Our pharmacy teams are partners in community health, and preparations for this year’s cold-and-flu season underscore an unwavering commitment to our customers’ well-being,” Omer Gajial, chief digital officer and executive vice president of health at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We have administered nearly 14 million COVID-19 vaccines to patients across the country, and we are enhancing the experience this year with specialized scheduling tools and pharmacy care.”
The reformulated boosters from Moderna and Pfizer target the original COVID virus plus Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. The vaccines, along with antigen tests, are available at Albertsons Cos. pharmacies at no cost based on eligibility. Also, selected pharmacies are administering Evusheld, a long-acting monoclonal antibody combination authorized for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 for certain high-risk individuals. The federal government provides Evusheld at no cost, and some insurance plans will cover the administration fee, including Medicare Part B.
The Quadrivalent flu vaccine, Flublok and Fluzone HD, is available at Albertsons’ pharmacies and is free with most insurance providers. At each appointment, pharmacists can also co-administer additional vaccines, including shingles, pneumonia, tetanus and HPV.
Other vaccination and health care services at Albertsons Cos. pharmacies include the following:
• Online scheduler: Customers can book appointments for up to five immunizations together using the company’s online scheduler, available on the grocer’s app or website. The scheduler can sort and recommend vaccines that are relevant by age. Walk-ins also are welcome.
• Free consultations: Pharmacists are available to discuss clinical-related questions to assist customers in making health care decisions and will offer consultations on vaccination history and recommend co-administrations to bring key immunizations up to date.
• Drive-up clinics: Vaccines may be administered from patients’ cars at participating pharmacy locations.
• Remote services: Local Albertsons Cos. pharmacists are available to set up and staff vaccine clinics at schools, nursing homes, companies and other organizations to make it easier for people to get immunized.
“We know vaccines are one of the best ways to keep families healthy this winter, and these enhancements are designed to make it easy for everyone to receive the right vaccinations in a single appointment,” Gajial added
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends COVID-19 vaccines be given during the same visit with other vaccines, including the flu vaccine, which is available to children as young as 6 months of age (based on state regulations). The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and booster can be administered to patients as young as 12 years old, while the Moderna COVID-19 doses are available for patients 18 and older. An adult must sign a consent-and-release form for minor patients receiving vaccinations.
Overall, Albertsons Cos. operates 2,273 retail food and drug stores — including 1,720 pharmacies — in 34 states and the District of Columbia under such banners as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market.