Rite Aid’s efforts around testing for and vaccinating against COVID-19 continue to expand. The Camp Hill, Pa.-based chain on Thursday announced that as of Feb. 12, all of its more than 1,200 drive-thru locations are offering no-charge COVID-19 testing. Additionally, Rite Aid is participating in the federal retail pharmacy program, offering COVID-19 vaccines in five states and two jurisdictions.
To allow for all of its drive-thru stores to offer COVID-19 testing, the company will add 441 sites beginning Feb. 12, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services. The expansion grows the company’s testing capabilities in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. The sites will offer PCR self-swab nasal tests overseen by Rite Aid pharmacists on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone ages 4 years old and older, regardless of whether they are experiencing virus symptoms.
“Testing is an essential tool in the battle against COVID-19,” said Jocelyn Konrad, executive vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Rite Aid. “With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines ramping up, it’s imperative that getting tested remains a priority with other COVID-19 safety prevention methods.”
Alongside the testing expansion, Rite Aid on Thursday kicked off its participation in the federal retail pharmacy program, administering COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated directly by the federal government. These allocations are going to stores in California, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and New York City. Each story participating will receive 100 doses per week, with the expectation that the allocation will grow over time and supplement existing supply from state and local governments.
“With vaccine demand outpacing supply, the establishment of an additional channel for vaccine allocation and distribution is an important and positive first step in the effort to end COVID-19,” said Heyward Donigan, president and CEO of Rite Aid. “Initially, vaccine appointments will still be difficult to schedule at any provider. However, we expect to see availability of the vaccine improve over time, and Rite Aid stands ready to administer as many vaccines as we are allocated quickly, safely and efficiently.”
Rite Aid said it anticipates demand to exceed supply for the foreseeable future. As supply becomes more available, the company said it would grow the number of stores offering COVID-19 vaccines.