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Kroger is ‘undoubtedly ready’ to begin Covid vaccinations at its pharmacies, CEO says


Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen on Thursday expressed confidence in regards to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines at its pharmacies, telling CNBC the grocery store was “ready and anxious to get started.”

“We’re definitely prepared,” he stated on “Closing Bell,” including the corporate has been coordinating with the federal authorities and states for weeks. “We have pharmacy professionals. We have nurse practitioners, and we’re spread out across the country.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, also operates nearly 2,000 pharmacies in 37 states. It is among the many quite a few firms enrolled in a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services to assist ship a Covid-19 vaccine to Americans as soon as it is granted regulatory clearance. Albertsons, CVS, Walgreens and Costco also are in the HHS program.

Pfizer and its German accomplice BioNTech have been the primary Covid-19 vaccine developers to apply for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration, and Massachusetts-based Moderna applied for the same approval shortly afterward.

The FDA could grant emergency authorization for a vaccine this month. Earlier this week, an advisory panel for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended health-care employees and long-term care facility residents be the primary to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Obviously, we’re going to accomplice with the federal authorities when it comes to precedence, which health-care employees would be the first precedence. But we’re prepared and anxious to get began,” McMullen said.

The logistics of delivering a vaccine throughout the country are complex, especially given the low storage temperatures required for some of them. McMullen, for his part, expressed optimism about how the process would play out once a vaccine can begin to be shipped.

“I feel it is a kind of issues the place the nation is going to come collectively. Is it simple? No, however we’re going to be high quality, and the entire provide chain will work collectively to be sure that individuals throughout the U.S. are getting the vaccines they want to, and ensuring the temperatures are maintained,” he said. “I’ve a lot religion in everyone working collectively, and we are going to get it performed.”

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, told CNBC earlier
Thursday that his facility has taken steps to be ready for vaccines arriving. While noting that the ultra-cold storage temperatures needed for Pfizer’s vaccine, in particular, add to the complexity, Elnahal echoed McMullen’s outlook.

“I’m assured that we’ll have the ability to do the primary rounds of administration,” said Elnahal, who previously led the New Jersey Department of Health under Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. He said University Hospital has been working closely with the state health department, as well as with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative.

“The chilly storage necessities are very complicated, requiring distinctive packaging but in addition after all the refrigeration gear. We’re certainly one of simply a number of hospitals in New Jersey that has the flexibility for ultra-cold storage so we’ll be one of many few getting that first cargo, and we’ll be testing the very complicated logistics within the coming weeks.”



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