CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Select Rite Aid stores are helping to vaccinate people in the City of Chesapeake, while at the same time testing out the company’s vaccination scheduling platform ahead of a larger rollout.

The major retailer’s website states that the stores in Chesapeake are the only ones in Virginia currently handling COVID-19 vaccinations. That’s because their doses are coming from the local health department’s weekly allotment, rather than through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that gives vaccine doses to stores like CVS.

“We receive 2,800 doses weekly and allocate about 50% to community pharmacies and providers so vaccination of seniors can be occurring concurrently with our vaccinating 1b,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, director of the Chesapeake Health Department. “Most pharmacies/providers are contacting their senior patients but looks like Rite-Aid is approaching a little differently.”

Rite Aid has announced they will be accepting appointments for people in the healthcare industry, those 65 and older and those 18 and older with underlying medical conditions.

However, you must use a Rite Aid scheduling portal, accessed off the Chesapeake Health Department’s website to request a shot. Calling a store directly will not land you an appointment.

Screenshot of Rite Aid website taken Feb. 11, 2021

Chris Savarese, Rite Aid’s director of public relations, said using their portal will help the company work out kinks in their system before supply increases and allows the vaccination involvement to expand.

Brooke Cooper, of Chesapeake, said the process was easy and stress-free. She signed her 90-year-old grandfather up last Wednesday, and on Saturday, he received his first dose of the vaccine at one of the Rite Aid stores on Battlefield Boulevard.

“I was excited I was able to get right on and get my grandfather signed up,” Cooper said. “He is an avid golfer and hasn’t been out since obviously COVID hit us … It’s been really hard on him and I wanted him to get back out there and not let this hold him back.”

Meanwhile, Rite Aid announced that it is expanding its COVID-19 TESTING to all remaining drive-through store locations. An additional 441 no-charges sites are opening on Feb. 12. If you are looking to be tested, locate a Rite Aid store at this link.

“Testing is an essential tool in the battle against COVID-19,” said Jocelyn Konrad, executive vice president and chief pharmacy officer with Rite Aid. “With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines ramping up, it’s imperative that getting tested remains a priority with other COVID-19 safety prevention methods.”