Columbus, central Ohio grocery stores to offer limited COVID vaccine doses

NBC4 Investigates

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two grocery store chains in Ohio are part of Phase 1B of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which began Monday.

NBC4 investigative reporter Jamie Ostroff discovered that chances of getting an appointment at either Kroger or Giant Eagle are slim to none.

Kroger’s website offers an online form to book a vaccine appointment at participating stores. Amy McCormick, a spokesperson for Kroger’s Columbus region, said all appointments in the region were booked as of Monday afternoon.

McCormick said participating stores were notified Monday that they would each receive a shipment of 100 vaccine doses Tuesday, which means those doses won’t be administered until Wednesday afternoon “at the earliest.”

Beyond the initial 100 doses, McCormick said the company is unaware when the next vaccine shipments will arrive, or how many doses they will contain.

After searching multiple Kroger locations online late Monday afternoon, Ostroff was able to find an open appointment Friday afternoon in the Columbus area. McCormick said the opening was likely due to a cancellation that arose from a booking made by someone who did not qualify for the current vaccination phase, which covers members of the public ages 80 and up.

Kroger also offers a COVID-19 help line for all locations at 866-211-5320.

Several Giant Eagle stores across central Ohio are also listed as vaccination sites. While Giant Eagle’s website states Phase 1B begins Monday, information on how to book an appointment is still unavailable.

“We will be providing information on how to schedule your vaccination in the days to come. Please check back for updates,” the website reads.

In an email to NBC4, Giant Eagle spokesperson Brock Schmaltz said, “We are in the process of finalizing our exact plans for the vaccinations. We will have an update for you tomorrow.”

According to Schmaltz, vaccines will not be available at Giant Eagle pharmacies until later in the week.

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