Meijer is seeing rising momentum for COVID-19 vaccinations as the nation’s supply of vaccines continues to build.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter retailer said it registered over 35,000 people in less than 24 hours after opening enrollment for a federally run, mass COVID-19 immunization clinic starting next week at Ford Field stadium, home of the Detroit Lions pro football team.
Meijer said its goal is to register, schedule and submit data for 5,000 vaccinations per day at the Ford Field event, which kicks off on March 24. The retailer's online registration launched just after 4 p.m. on Monday and immediately drew an “extremely high volume” of people looking to sign up for a COVID shot, and the registry grew by 2,000 people per hour yesterday.
Since launching its coronavirus vaccine registry in January, Meijer has enrolled more than 1.7 million people across its Midwestern market area.
“Our stores and pharmacies have played a pivotal role throughout the pandemic, helping customers at the store, building an online vaccine registry and administering more than 201,000 doses to Michiganders so far,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said in a statement. “I couldn't be prouder of our quick response, but the work isn’t done. We’re excited to bring that technology, and our expert teams, to Ford Field to support the state of Michigan and FEMA in this critical endeavor.”
In addition to Meijer’s COVID vaccine website, people who want to register for free vaccinations at upcoming clinics can text “EndCovid” to 75049 and select Ford Field as the location. Invitations to the clinics will be sent directly to registrants later this week. The retailer noted that it will send out invitations based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to vaccinate people most vulnerable in Detroit — Michigan’s hardest-hit city during the pandemic — as well as in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties. People also can register by calling the state health department hotline at 888-535-6136.
Meijer said it will manage the check-in process for those getting COVID-19 vaccines at Ford Field and provide on-site pharmacists for clinical reviews and vaccine security and stability. The retailer also plans to deploy IT development teams and infrastructure, coordinate data submission to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry and preserve patient immunization records. Published reports said state officials expect to administer about 250,000 doses during the eight weeks that the high-volume vaccination site will be open. Earlier this month, Meijer held a two-day COVID vaccine clinic at Ford Field for Michigan teachers and other school staff.
“Meijer cares about the communities we serve, and our teams have come together with such sincerity to lend a hand during this challenging time,” Keyes added. "Through this continued partnership at the state and federal level, we’re able to keep doing our part to help finally put an end to this pandemic.”
In January, Meijer was named as a federal retail pharmacy partner for COVID vaccinations in Michigan and has since been named as a partner in Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Soon after, in February, the company administered 25,000 doses of the vaccine in a series of clinics at stores in Michigan. That was followed up later in the month with another 17,000 doses administered in a round of more than 60 clinics at stores across Indiana and then more than 10,000 inoculations for teachers and school staff in a dozen clinics in the state.
Meijer reported that, to date, it has conducted more than 2,060 clinics — large and small — through which it has administered 309,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, the chain operates 256 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
President Joe Biden announced March 2 that the U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccinations for all adults by the end of May. His projection reflects an expected supply of 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a combined 600 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. So far, those three vaccines were the only ones to receive Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization. Biden also has directed his administration to procure another 100 million J&J vaccines for the latter part of the year.
Through the morning of March 17, 22.2% of the U.S. population had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, with 12% fully immunized, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 113 million of the 147.6 million vaccines delivered by manufacturers have been administered.