The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a partnership with major supermarket chains across the country that operate in-store pharmacies to maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines when they begin to be distributed. Through the partnerships with network administrators, independent pharmacies and regional chains will also be part of the federal pharmacy program, further increasing access to vaccines across the country particularly in traditionally underserved areas, HHS said.
Vaccines will be administered at partners’ pharmacy locations at no cost to patients.
“We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs. The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available,” said the HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
Supermarket chains that have partnered with HHS to administer COVID-19 vaccines when they become available are:
- Albertsons Companies, Inc. (incl., Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaws, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, Sav-On)
- Costco Wholesale Corp.
- H-E-B, LP
- Hy-Vee, Inc.
- Meijer Inc.
- Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- Retail Business Services, LLC (incl., Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros Co, Stop & Shop)
- The Kroger Co. (incl., Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Frys, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Marianos, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market)
- Topco Associates, LLC (incl. Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, English Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Acme Fresh Markets)
- Walmart, Inc. (incl. Sam’s Club)
- Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. (incl. Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco y Más)
“Throughout this pandemic, our pharmacy teams have been on the front lines, offering care and health solutions for our communities,” said Omer Gajial, SVP of Albertsons Companies Pharmacy and Health. “When a vaccine is ready, our pharmacists will play a critical role in administering this important public health service.”
By providing COVID-19 vaccines directly to jurisdictions and pharmacies, the federal government will be able to distribute them quickly and efficiently to millions of people. Albertsons Companies pharmacies will work with the CDC and the states in which they operate to streamline and optimize the delivery of the vaccine by working closely to coordinate, track, and monitor distribution.
Giant’s and Martin’s 132 pharmacies will also become vaccine providers, once they are licensed. “Our pharmacists are trusted health advisors in the local communities that we serve and well-equipped to safely administer future COVID-19 vaccines,” said Leigh Shirley, director of pharmacy operations, The GIANT Company. “Being part of this federal pharmacy program lays the groundwork once a vaccine is available to help increase access to and distribution of the vaccine.”
About Operation Warp Speed (OWS)
OWS is a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, engaging with private firms and other federal agencies, and coordinating among existing HHS-wide efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.