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Big Y Foods-COVID vaccine clinic banner.jpg Big Y Foods
Big Y Foods is offering the Pfizer COVID booster shot chainwide as part of its Big Vax Week clinic series this week.

More supermarket chains queue up COVID-19 boosters

Giant, Publix, H-E-B, Wegmans, Albertsons and Big Y keep customers updated on vaccine availability

Giant Food, Publix Super Markets, H-E-B, Wegmans Food Markets, Albertsons Cos. and Big Y Foods are among the latest grocery chains to provide COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

Landover, Md.-based Giant said yesterday that, to eligible patients, all of its 152 in-store pharmacies are now offering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccination, cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. Giant pharmacies also can administer third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines to immunocompromised patients.

The vaccines are provided free and on a walk-in basis, though customers can still make an appointment for a shot on Giant’s COVID-19 information page. Patients are asked to bring their health insurance card, driver’s license and COVID vaccination card to their visit visit.

Pfizer COVID booster shots are administered at least six months after completion of the initial Pfizer two-dose vaccination series. Eligible patients include seniors, long-term care residents, those ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, individuals ages 18 to 49 at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, and people ages 18 to 64 at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings.

“We have been working alongside local and federal authorities as well as with our community partners to help local residents get vaccinated since the initial vaccine doses became available, and we remain committed to helping our communities stay safe and healthy by now offering the newly approved Pfizer/BioNTech booster shots,” Paul Zvaleny, director of pharmacy operations at Giant Food, said in a statement.

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Giant Food launched COVID booster shots yesterday. The chain began offering coronavirus vaccinations by appointment at all pharmacies back in March.

Pfizer’s COVID booster received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA on Sept. 22. So far, boosters aren’t available for the two-dose Moderna and one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines. In August, the FDA and CDC approved third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID shots for certain immunocompromised people. The third doses are administered at least 28 days after the second shot.

“We encourage all of our eligible neighbors to stop by their local Giant Pharmacy to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot as well to speak with one of our licensed and trained pharmacists to discuss preventative measures and additional CDC/ACIP recommended immunizations to keep them healthy, including this season’s flu vaccine, which the CDC recommends receiving, as well as staying up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines. Increasing access to these valuable immunizations remains a top priority for Giant Pharmacy,” Zvaleny added.

Part of Ahold Delhaize USA, Giant operates 164 supermarkets overall in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware. and the District of Columbia. The grocer has been administering COVID-19 immunizations since late 2020 and now offers the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines, depending on location.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans began offering Pfizer COVID booster shots yesterday at all of its pharmacy locations. The chain operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

Publix COVID vaccine patient.jpgPublix is rolling out the Pfizer COVID booster across its Florida pharmacies as the vaccine becomes available. (Photo courtesy of Publix)

“At this time, only individuals who received the Pfizer two-dose vaccine are eligible to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech booster shot,” Wegmans stated. “Currently, there is not a recommendation for a Moderna or J&J/Janssen booster shot for the general population.”

Wegmans is providing the Pfizer boosters by appointment only. Patients must bring their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or other proof of vaccination if they didn’t receive their initial two-shot series at Wegmans, the retailer said. Proof of qualifying condition isn’t required, as patients will be asked to self-attest to current CDC eligibility at the time of the appointment.

Both Publix and H-E-B announced the rollout of Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccines last Friday. Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix began providing the boosters on Sept. 24 at its pharmacies in Florida’s Brevard, Duval, Orange and Polk counties on a walk-in basis. The company said that, starting on Sept. 25, all of its Florida pharmacy locations began offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with booster doses made available over the weekend as they became available at each store. Publix, which operates 1,248 stores in seven Southeastern states, also began accepting appointments starting Sept. 27 via its online reservation system.

Meanwhile, H-E-B said the Pfizer COVID booster became available at its pharmacies starting on Sept. 24. The San Antonio-based chain also reported curtailed hours for no-appointment COVID vaccines. Beginning yesterday, H-E-B pharmacies accepted walk-ins for COVID shots Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an appointment required for all other days and times. In mid-August, the grocer also restricted weekday hours for walk-up COVID vaccinations due to escalating customer traffic for shots.

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H-E-B began offering the booster last Friday and reported its pharmacies have an ample supply of COVID vaccines.

“H-E-B pharmacies have ample supply of COVID-19 vaccines and have more than 1,800 certified immunizers across the state ready to administer shots,” stated H-E-B, which has over 360 stores across Texas. “To minimize your wait, we recommend you make an appointment.”

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons launched booster doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Monday at its 1,730 in-store pharmacies nationwide, including supermarkets under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs banners. No appointments are needed.

The company, which also recently kicked off its annual flu shot program, noted that all COVID vaccinations can be safely administered at the same time as the flu shot. Customers who get an immunization receive a coupon for 10% off their next grocery purchase of up to $200, depending on state regulations. Overall, Albertsons Cos. pharmacists have provided more than 6.5 million COVID-19 vaccinations since the first coronavirus shots were administered in December.

Big Y Foods is now providing the Pfizer COVID booster, as well as the Pfizer and Moderna third COVID vaccine doses, at all of its pharmacy and clinic locations. On Sunday, the Springfield, Mass.-based chain kicked off “Big Y’s Big Vax Week,” a series of on-site immunization clinics — including COVID and seasonal flu shots — through Oct. 2 at all 71 Big Y supermarkets in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis while supplies last, and stores with a pharmacy also will be able to administer pneumonia, shingles, Tdap, hepatitis A/B, meningococcal, MMR and HPV vaccines.

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Big Y's Big Vax Week store clinics will enable customers to get COVID-19 booster and third doses, seasonal flu shots and other immunizations.

Big Y noted that Big Vax Week marks first-ever chainwide vaccination event. Patients who receive a vaccine will receive a Big Y coupon for $5 off $25, as well as other giveaways. In addition, Big Y said it will administer COVID booster shots at all Big Y pharmacy locations regardless of where they received their original Pfizer COVID vaccine series.

“The safety and health of everyone in our region is so vitally important to us that we are excited to offer our first-ever Big Y Big Vax Week to everyone: our customers, employees and their families,” Big Y President and CEO Charles D’Amour said in a statement. “Our professional pharmacy staff has been working hard to be able to provide this essential service in each of our neighborhoods at every one of our 71 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. This weeklong event provides a convenient way for anyone to receive one of many vaccines to keep our community healthy.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Article updated with Albertsons COVID-19 vaccine information.

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