- Hy-Vee will offer drive-up flu shots at many of its 270 pharmacy locations without an appointment or prescription between Aug. 17 and Oct. 31, according to a company release. The grocer will also offer flu shots inside all of its pharmacy locations.
- All Hy-Vee team members will wear face masks when delivering vaccines and all patients receiving a vaccine will be required to wear a mask. Hy-Vee is instructing any patient with COVID-like symptoms or exposure to the virus to wait before getting their vaccine. The grocer says it's following CDC guidelines in its pharmacies, which now have plexiglass shields, enhanced cleaning procedures and social distancing protocols.
- Pharmacists will conduct a screening process to ensure they are administering the right vaccine type to each customer. Each person that receives a vaccine will get a 20 cents per gallon Fuel Saver discount that can be redeemed at Hy-Vee Gas, Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh or Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh Express locations.
Hy-Vee’s drive-up flu vaccine service offers another option for shoppers, particularly seniors and those who are immunocompromised, to take the precautionary step that health authorities say is still critical during the pandemic.
The CDC is recommending that everyone six months and older get a flu shot this year, despite any hesitations they might have around visiting clinics and doctors officers. According to a New York Times report, health experts are unsure what this year's flu season might look like. Social distancing measures could tamp down the seasonal virus, or it could spread widely in parallel with COVID-19. A flu vaccine would help address the latter scenario.
Considering the flu virus and the COVID-19 virus have similar symptoms, people may confuse the two which could result in a spike in testing and hospital visits.
From a business perspective, flu shots can drive traffic to grocery pharmacies, many of which have struggled to compete against big-name chains like CVS and Walgreens. Health-focused Hy-Vee has been growing its pharmacy footprint. Last year the grocer acquired ten Weber & Judd pharmacies shortly after it acquired six Shopko pharmacies. In its pharmacies, Hy-Vee also offers free prescription delivery, free blood pressure checks and nutritional consultations.
The retailer also operates HealthMarket stores, which Hy-Vee says reinvents the typical drugstore format by combining pharmacy and nutritional services with a limited grocery assortment.
To incentivize shoppers even more, Hy-Vee is offering fuel perks to those who choose to receive the immunization. Gas has been a focal point for the company this past year. In hopes of potentially driving new shoppers and generating sales for its convenience store during coronavirus, Hy-Vee added on free full-service fueling at more than 165 locations in April.