Kroger, the parent company of Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores, said Tuesday that it plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines at its 67 pharmacy locations in Wisconsin.
The company said it will be “partnering with the federal government and state health departments to administer the vaccine in accordance with the rollout plan,” according to a statement.
Kroger, through its Milwaukee-based Roundy’s division, operates 106 Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores in Wisconsin and is the grocery market share leader in the state. The company employs more than 12,000 people in Wisconsin.
Tuesday’s announcement is part of a nationwide plan by Kroger to have the vaccine available at its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics in the U.S.
The announcement comes on the same day that Wisconsin officials announced a record high for COVID-19-related deaths in the state.
Kroger is among the nation’s largest retailers.
“The size and scale of our health care operation provides us with the unique ability to efficiently facilitate COVID-19 testing and immunize a large portion of the U.S. population, once the authorized vaccines become more widely available,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, in a statement.
Kroger says it sees about 11 million customers each day at its stores across 35 states.
Other pharmacy chains and retail outlets will also be offering the vaccine.
About 10,000 people in Wisconsin have received the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, state health officials said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized two vaccines, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from Moderna.
“Kroger Health will support the phased approach, focusing first on priority populations as defined by federal and state governments,” according to the company statement.
“We are strongly encouraging all customers and associates to receive the vaccine to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and we’ll do all we can to ensure they have access as soon as it’s available,” said Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger Health’s chief medical officer, in a statement.
Kroger Health also said it is hiring nearly 1,000 health care personnel, including pharmacy technicians, “to support operations and the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Once the vaccine is available, the company will announce details of administering the vaccine at the pharmacy locations, said Jim Hyland, a Roundy’s spokesman.