NEW YORK — Ahold USA food and drug chains Stop & Stop and Giant Food have begun offering discounted flu shots to loyalty card holders.
Part of the supermarket retailers’ ongoing Health & Wellness initiative, the seasonal flu immunizations were made available Friday in most Stop & Shop and Giant pharmacy locations and are slated to be rolled out to all stores next month, the chains said. The shots will be available through November 26 or while supplies last.
Each shot costs $30, but customers with Stop & Shop or Giant loyalty cards get a $10 discount, for a final cost of $20. The vaccinations will be administered by certified and trained Stop & Shop and Giant pharmacists and through the chains’ partnership with Maxim Health Systems and its trained health care staff, according to the retailers.
"Unfortunately, many Americans are forgoing medical care because of increased costs, and we want to do our part by offering affordable immunizations during these challenging economic times," Jim Wonderly, vice president of pharmacy operations for Stop & Shop and Giant, said in a statement.
In addition, Stop & Shop and Giant said they’re working closely with local and state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare for the administration of the H1N1 "swine flu" vaccine. The CDC has previously said it expects the vaccine to become available starting in mid-October at the earliest.
Landover, Md.-based Giant operates 181 supermarkets, 164 of which have pharmacies, in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. Stop & Shop, based in Quincy, Mass., operates 383 supermarkets, about two-thirds of which contain pharmacies, in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey.
Supermarket chains have been stepping up efforts to position themselves as health and wellness destinations through discount prescription drug and nutrition programs as well as health screenings, immunizations and other initiatives.
For example, Giant Eagle Inc. has launched a free antibiotics program, while Supervalu Inc., Kroger Inc. and Safeway Inc. have unveiled extensive flu shot programs.