Albertsons Cos. cited community partnerships as a key contributor in surpassing the 1 million mark in COVID-19 vaccines administered by its pharmacy teams.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said Tuesday its 11,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are providing coronavirus shots in the areas where its more than 1,700 pharmacies operate. Altogether, the grocer’s pharmacies can administer 150,000 doses daily, but its immunization capacity is currently only 15% utilized, the company said.
“Our pharmacy teams across the country are working diligently in serving our communities during this national effort,” Omer Gajial, senior vice president of pharmacy and health for Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to our federal partners and local jurisdictions in delivering this important milestone.”
As one of 21 national pharmacy partners in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, Albertsons said it’s now providing vaccines to communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Chicago, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington through the initiative, working in tandem with local jurisdictions. Launched last month by the Biden administration, the program distributes the immunizations directly to pharmacies.
Albertsons' COVID vaccination efforts include large-scale events nationwide for hard-to-reach populations and medically underserved communities. (Photo courtesy of Albertsons Cos.)
This week, Albertsons Cos. pharmacies started taking COVID vaccine appointments online from teachers and other education staff after President Joe Biden last week ordered that all states prioritize school personnel and childcare workers for inoculations. Those eligible include educators and staff who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Start programs (including teachers, staff and bus drivers), and those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.
Albertsons noted that its pharmacy staff’s efforts also include large-scale vaccination events across the country for hard-to-reach populations and communities with low access to medical care. In the past two weeks, pharmacy staff from Safeway, Albertsons and Haggen stores provided over 100,000 COVID vaccine doses in Washington state alone.
For example, Safeway and Albertsons pharmacists administered more than 25,000 COVID-19 vaccines in a clinic at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Washington, run with the county and National Guard. Safeway and Albertsons clinics in Bellevue, Olympia, and Wenatchee, Wash., also vaccinated more than 1,500 teachers, and more clinics planned in the state this week in Bellevue, Auburn and Olympia will vaccinate 2,500 teachers, Albertsons reported.
Similarly, pharmacy professionals from Safeway and Albertsons stores provided over 10,000 doses of the vaccine to teachers, support staff and child caregivers at clinics held in Phoenix high school parking lots via a partnership with Maricopa County. Recent clinics for agricultural workers in Fresno and Turlock, Calif., saw Safeway pharmacists vaccinate more than 1,000 and 650 people, respectively, against coronavirus.
In one day, Safeway pharmacists administered COVID-19 immunizations to more than 500 seniors in an underserved community in Pueblo, Colo., and a Jewel-Osco clinic in Bensenville, Ill., vaccinated more 1,500 seniors, with the village board issuing a proclamation recognizing the pharmacists’ efforts. And in Delaware, Albertsons said Acme pharmacists are administering 1,700 doses of the vaccine weekly through an ongoing clinic in partnership with state and local agencies.
“We continue to provide equitable vaccination solutions to underserved and rural customers and will accelerate our services as doses become more widely available,” Gajial added.
Albertsons administered its first COVID-19 vaccine doses, from Pfizer/BioNTech, in mid-December at a clinic in Alaska run by Carrs/Safeway pharmacists. As of early February, when announcing its participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Albertsons had provided over 250,000 vaccinations. The company adds appointments to its online scheduler at albertsons.com/COVID-19 as more supply of the vaccine becomes available.
Overall, Albertsons operates 2,253 food and drug stores, including 1,727 pharmacies, in 34 states and the District of Columbia under such retail banners as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Haggen and Carrs.