Publix, Kroger begin offering COVID-19 vaccine but appointments quickly booked


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With rising coronavirus cases and more deaths, a lot of people are anxious to get the vaccine. Friday, several supermarket chains rolled out programs to provide the shots to customers, but in Chatham County, appointments were quickly taken.

“We went live at 6 a.m. this morning and they went really quickly,” said Nicole Krauss of Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Krauss says the COVID-19 vaccine became available at 180 supermarkets throughout Georgia, including four in Chatham County. But by noon she said all openings were long gone.

“Our goal was to ensure that our customers had enough time with these appointment slots to ask any questions they may have,” said Krauss.

Appointments were also limited because people need two shots and there is only so much vaccine. Publix rolled out a similar program last week in Florida.

“We’re hopeful that in collaboration with the state of Georgia that we’ll have the opportunity to provide more vaccines to more customers who are interested,” said Krauss.

Publix is using the Moderna vaccine.

Kroger also announced a program to offer vaccine in Chatham County but appointments at local stores offering the shots were also quickly taken Friday.

Kroger officials said an 800 number may be provided at some point for people to try to set up appointments but for now, anyone interested needs to go online.

Publix also says appointments can only be booked online. Krauss suggests that older people who aren’t sure how the process may work enlist the help of a younger relative to help them go online to book the appointment.

Dr. Lawton Davis of the Coastal Health District urged people to be patient. He said it appears “a large percentage of those people who are age 65 and above are not only willing to take the vaccine but very eager to take it.”

Davis did caution that safety precautions remain important now, especially if you cannot get the vaccine.

“But even once you’re vaccinated we’re still going to advise you to wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and avoid indoor gatherings,” said Davis.

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