“Efficient” is the word you’re most likely to hear from those who’ve received a first Covid vaccine shot at the Meijer Southgate store when they talk about the experience.
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• “My husband and I both went. In and out in 30 minutes. Very organized and efficient.” — Donna Pear of Wyandotte
• “Very efficient.” — Deborah Eldredge of Southgate
• “No problems whatsoever. So efficient.” — Donna Marbrey of Southgate
• “It’s very organized. Moves fast even though the line looked long.” — Jenni Weihmiller of Romulus
• “Went real smoothly.” — Stan Kulczycki of Wyandotte
• “Very quick and organized.” — Melissa Dyer of Wyandotte
• “Meijer in Southgate did a great job. No waiting, no overcrowding, professional. In and out in 35 minutes. Great experience.” — Cora Kidd of Southgate
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During the last few weeks, Meijer stores throughout the state have administered up to 1,200 vaccines per day, depending on the store, according to a Feb. 8 press release from the superstore chain based in Grand Rapids.
“Since its first clinic on Jan. 15, the retailer has administered more than 20,000 doses in Michigan and more than 30,000 doses overall, primarily to seniors 65 and older,” the release states.
The vaccine doses are provided by the state of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control. Health systems throughout the state, including Henry Ford and Beaumont, and other sites also are holding vaccine clinics throughout the state. Many hopeful seniors have signed up with as many locations as they can, and are just waiting to get the texts, emails and phone calls setting up appointments.
Here’s how it works with Meijer:
Text COVID to the number 75049 for a link to register, or visit clinic.meijer.com to register. Seniors also can sign up in person at individual stores.
On the day and time of your Meijer appointment, when you walk into the store, an employee will direct you to another worker at the clinic, who will hand you paperwork to fill out and send you on to the vaccine line. Signs and employees direct you every step of the way.
As you move through the line, where everyone is six feet apart, you can fill out your paperwork.
“It moved very quickly,” said Patricia Rydzewski of Wyandotte.
“The process was well organized, and in spite of there being about 30 people in line, it only took 15 minutes,” said Joanne Dalla Santa of Lincoln Park. “I would recommend seniors with arthritis to bring their canes or walkers or grab a cart for support while in line.”
At the top of the line, an employee will take your paperwork and ask for your insurance cards, look all of that over quickly and direct you to a table where a pharmacy worker is waiting to swab your arm, give you the shot, hand you a vaccine card and make you an appointment for your second dose three weeks from the first one.
Then you’re directed to seats — all spaced six feet apart — where you wait for 15 minutes (or 30 minutes depending on your health status) to make sure you don’t have any sort of allergic reaction. And then you’re done. Before you’ve walked out of the waiting area, an employee is cleaning your chair for the next person.
“I was very impressed and happy about the whole experience,” said Helen Guerra of Southgate. “The workers were so kind, friendly and helpful.”
“My husband and I just received our first Covid shots at Meijer in Southgate,” Pat Trenton of Taylor wrote online. “I’m posting just to let them and everyone know what an outstanding job they are doing. The line moved quickly, the entire team was friendly and professional, and even the waiting area chairs were cleaned as soon as someone left. You realize that almost all of us in line are seniors, a great many with health issues, and to stand in a long line can be very daunting. No problem today. Kind workers and well organized.”
“I’m extremely proud of the amazing work our store and pharmacy teams have done to create a quick and efficient process for our vaccine clinics,” said Jason Beauch, Meijer vice president of pharmacy. “The importance of these clinics is not lost on our team members and patients. It’s a very emotional experience for everyone involved.”
As more vaccine doses become available, Meijer will expand vaccine administration, according to a press release. Nationwide, about 46 million people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, according to Feb. 11 news reports. Vaccination is not complete until two doses have been received.
If you know a senior without a cell phone or Internet access, consider helping that person register to get a vaccine, some people recommend.
“I registered my older sister for an appointment and used my phone number,” Dalla Santa said.
“One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is to make a plan to get the vaccine when it becomes available to you,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Remember, it takes some time to distribute the vaccine to all Michiganders, so please be patient .… The state of Michigan is proud to partner with Meijer to help distribute the safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine to Michiganders across the state.”
The systems used to get vaccine shots into arms vary from state to state.
Meijer is a family-owned retailer with 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.