LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Ralphs announced Friday that it has begun administering free COVID-19 vaccinations to its pharmacists and pharmacy staff, along with other health care providers at its 50 pharmacies in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.
Ralphs Pharmacy locations in the city of Long Beach, as well as San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties will receive the COVID-19 vaccine next week, the grocery chain said.
The Moderna vaccinations are currently available only to those who are eligible as part of the first tiers of Phase 1A of county public health COVID-19 vaccine distribution phases, and those seeking vaccinations will be required to complete a disclosure form declaring they are eligible for the Phase 1A distribution, according to the company.
"We are confident in the safety of the vaccine based on the thorough clinical trials and assurances from the Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," said Dr. Linh Lee, Ralphs' director of pharmacy/health & wellness. "Additionally, Ralphs pharmacists will provide monitoring for 15-30 minutes after the vaccination is administered for any potential immediate reaction that could occur."
"Our most urgent priority throughout this pandemic has been to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers while meeting our societal obligation to provide open stores and access to fresh, affordable food," Lee added.
Meanwhile, frontline grocery employees have been moved to Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution.
The grocery chain, part of The Kroger Co., said its presence in local communities provide it with the unique ability to administer the vaccine, which will be rolled out to all 77 Ralphs Pharmacies throughout Southern California and the Central Coast as soon it becomes available through local health departments.
Ralphs said it will follow guidance from local health departments on the vaccine distribution plan for the general public.
The company noted that Ralphs has assisted Kroger in conducting more than 250,000 COVID-19 tests nationally since April and that Kroger offers free COVID-19 testing to all Ralphs' frontline associates.
Ralphs and The Kroger Co. became the nation's first retailer to offer rapid antibody tests for $25 to customers, the company added.