PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — This will be catch-up week for Virginia and many other states to get vaccines out. It comes after delays from last week’s bad weather.
10 On Your Side has the latest on this week’s vaccine efforts.
Other pharmacies are joining CVS this week to start COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including Walgreens, Walmart, Food Lion, Kroger, and Harris Teeter.
Last week, Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, said those pharmacy chains, as well as some other independent pharmacies, would start the vaccine process this week.
Avula said the new pharmacies on the roster were expected to split the 26,000 additional doses being sent the week of Feb. 21 — this week — to the state as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. CVS will continue administering its allocated 26,000 doses a week.
As 10 On Your Side was working this story Monday, we saw some logistics for getting the vaccine into arms at some stores are still being worked out. A search for appointments in the region on Walgreen’s website Monday came up empty-handed. Other companies, such as Walmart, also listed some local stores that will administer the vaccine, but said the vaccine isn’t available yet under the scheduling page. Some stores, like a Kroger in Portsmouth, still weren’t sure exactly when they would receive doses.
As of Wednesday, some pharmacies reported receiving vaccine doses and were opening up appointments.
Here’s the latest on what we know:
State working to improve process
Avula said Tuesday that the state continues to work toward the goal of new pharmacies coming on board through the federal program using the state’s pre-registration list for appointment scheduling of those 65 and up. VDH is working with those pharmacies on the logistics.
Health officials are also working to bring more doses into Virginia and ensure that they’re going to a medically vulnerable population that Federally Qualified Health Centers — clinics that are federally funded and specifically serve the un- and under-insured in Virginia — serve.
Information on vaccinations by demographic can be found here, and information by locality should be available on the dashboard by the end of the week.
This week, Walgreens announced it would start vaccinating eligible residents in Virginia on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Walgreens said Monday the company will receive more than 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses along with support for vaccine administration in 23 states. That includes 3,510 doses in Virginia, according to a breakdown of doses by state on the Walgreens website.
Vaccination appointments for Virginians open Tuesday and the vaccinations themselves will begin Wednesday. WAVY checked first thing Tuesday morning and the Walgreens COVID-19 vaccine scheduling page showed available appointments at local pharmacies filling up quickly.
On Frederick Boulevard in Portsmouth, the Walgreens said it is expecting the vaccine, but some details had yet to be worked out.
The best advice for getting an appointment is to just keep checking the Walgreens website.
Eligible individuals can make appointments for both doses at the same time on the Walgreens scheduling page starting Tuesday, Feb. 23. Details on who’s eligible are available on the Walgreens website.
Customers can also sign up to receive alerts about available vaccine appointments here.
The full list of testing locations and information on how to get an appointment can be found on the Walgreens testing homepage.
Individuals can also schedule their appointments online and find a list of participating Walgreens locations to receive the vaccine by calling 1-800-Walgreens.
Walk-ins won’t be accepted.
“Vaccine supplies are still very limited, but they will be ramping up. Please be patient while attempting to schedule appointments, as appointments will be limited as well,” Walgreens said Tuesday.
Up the street from the Walgreens, the Frederick Boulevard Kroger actually had about 100 doses a few weeks ago, but said Monday it did not know when the next shipment would arrive.
You can check for Kroger COVID-19 vaccine appointments at this link.
Kroger shopper Greg Taylor was delighted with the news that he can get his vaccination where he shops almost every day.
“I come here at least three times a week. No, I haven’t heard anything about signing up for the vaccine until right now,” he said.
Theresa Savage also shops at Kroger every morning.
“I haven’t thought about getting vaccinated. I haven’t registered for it yet, but if it is going to be here at Kroger, that is great,” she said.
Portsmouth resident and Kroger shopper Alice Butler says having multiple pharmacies offering the vaccine makes access easy for her.
“It’s more convenient to have it in the Kroger, and I’m also a patron of Walgreens. I shop at Kroger on a regular basis. It makes getting the vaccine accessible, and it is as easy as the flu shots,” she said.
Harris Teeter, which is a subsidiary of the Kroger Co., says it expects to receive limited quantities of the COVID-19 vaccines at select store locations that have a pharmacy, during the week of Feb. 22.
“Our trusted pharmacists plan to administer the no-cost COVID-19 vaccine in a phased approach, based on state guidelines, when available to pharmacies.”Harris Teeter
On Wednesday, Walmart announced it would hold COVID-19 vaccine clinics off-site and not in stores, a departure from what other pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are doing.
The Virginia Department of Health said Wednesday in a press release that clinics through Walmart will be held on a rotating basis in areas around the state. Walmart has yet to announce specific events at this time, but VDH says the recently-opened Vaccinate Virginia call center will make calls to those on Virginia’s vaccine pre-registration list to schedule those appointments. They’ll also do that for those getting vaccines at Giant supermarkets.
Walmart also lists four local stores on its COVID-19 vaccine availability map, but when you go to the scheduling pages for Walmart and Sam’s Club, it shows that the vaccine is not available yet.
The stores listed on the vaccine pages for Walmart and Sam’s Club include:
- YORKTOWN: Walmart at 2601 George Washington Memorial Highway 23693
- NEWPORT NEWS: Walmart at 6111 Jefferson Avenue 23605
- SUFFOLK: 1200 N. Main Street 23434
- FRANKLIN: 1500 Armory Drive 23851
10 On Your Side has reached out via email to Walmart to ask when the vaccine scheduling option will be open at these local stores.
Continue to check the Walmart COVID-19 vaccines page for updates and availability.
The full list of federal pharmacy partners listed for Virginia now include:
- Albertsons Companies, Inc.
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
- The Kroger Co.
- Walmart, Inc.
- Topco Associates, LLC (which includes grocers such as Giant Eagle, Save Mart Pharmacies, Wegmans,…)
- CPESN USA, LLC