As a former COVID-19 Contact Tracer, I think you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, I'm not going to spend this article trying to convince you of that. Instead, I'd like to talk about an easy, stress-free option for getting the vaccine at the Meijer grocery store in Florence, KY, if you are wanting to receive it.
Previous failed attempts at getting the vaccine at Kroger
As someone who works in media, I am considered an essential worker. I'm not sure if I agree with that assessment, but if it meant I could get the vaccine sooner and keep my family safe, I'm all for it. My partner, an essential government worker, got his vaccine nearly a month before I did at a Kroger location in Kentucky. He had to wait an hour in line each visit for both of his doses of Moderna.
Kroger has a clinic section on their website where you can answer a set of questions to determine your eligibility for the vaccine at this time. It'll then tell you if you are able to schedule an appointment at a location near you. I did this almost every other day for two months. I always showed up as eligible, but all the locations filled up so quickly that I couldn't book an appointment, even when I looked late at night or very early in the morning. Kroger is a very popular place to get your vaccine apparently.
(I gave you the link to use if you want to check Kroger's options out, but I recommend getting your vaccine at Meijer instead - it'll most likely be a lot quicker! Read on.)
A great suggestion and near-immediate appointment at Meijer
My partner is very knowledgeable about vaccine options due to the nature of his work. He had heard, whether from work or the radio, I am unsure, that Meijer was also giving out vaccines. This is public knowledge, but it's not being advertised as well as Kroger's appointments. I filled out a short form for Meijer that determined I was eligible and agreed to appointment alert texts on my phone. I really appreciated this because it meant I wouldn't have to keep checking all the time for appointment options.
The very next day, I received an alert that appointments were available and to schedule immediately. When I opened the page, there were over 60 slots available, on the day I chose, morning through evening. I chose a 4:45 PM appointment next Monday. It was Wednesday or Thursday when I received the invitation, and I was actually out of state so I could not book sooner, but there were appointments available that week, too.
The appointment itself took less than 5 minutes
Although the text alert said not to arrive at your appointment early, I still went early to make sure I was in the correct location. When I walked into the Florence, KY, location, I went to the left and back of the store. I arrived at the check-in counter at 4:25 and although I was early, they told me to hop in line behind the one person who was standing there. I was in the makeshift medical area by 4:30 at a table with two people. One gave me the vaccine while the other input my insurance information into her laptop. After less than 10 minutes since I arrived, everything was done and I was seated nearby to wait my 15 minutes to make sure I didn't have a reaction to the vaccine.
By 4:50, 5 minutes after my actual scheduled time, I was out the door. It could not have been any quicker. When you are given the shot, you also receive a vaccine card with a specific date to be back for your second dose. I received the Pfizer vaccine, and my second dose is exactly three weeks after my first one. Although they do assign you a specific time, I asked if mine could be changed. They stated no (in my specific case because it was unnecessary), but since they are open until 5 it didn't matter much about what time I came as long as I got there before they closed. My appointment is at 3:30 next week, but I'll be getting there around 4 PM.
While I was getting my vaccine, my partner was shopping. He heard a store-wide announcement that they were giving away extra vaccines, no appointment necessary. This was likely because they had cancellations or extra doses sitting out.
Although I'm considered an essential worker, I waited over two months in Kroger's scheduling system for a vaccine and did not receive one. At Meijer, I was in the system for one day before receiving the opportunity to schedule. They seem to have a lot of openings and extra doses due to people not knowing they have the vaccine. If you're looking to get it quickly, take a look at Meijer's scheduling portal.
If you somehow can't find an appointment and still want the vaccine, check in at your local Meijer a little bit before 5 PM and see if they're handing out extra doses they need to use up. You may get lucky. Stay healthy and wear your mask!