First healthcare workers receive COVID-19 vaccinations at DC’s Giant grocery stores

Giant pharmacist Samir Balile prepares the Moderna-produced COVID-19 vaccine at the Giant on 7th Street NW on Saturday. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

A Giant pharmacist speaks with a healthcare worker who was about to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday in D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)


Certain Giant grocery stores in D.C. started distributing the the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to qualified healthcare workers on Saturday.

Jim George was among the first ones to receive the vaccine at the Giant on 7th Street NW.

“They made us very comfortable; it was a smooth operation here,” he said.

George works with older disabled patients, and said their safety and his family’s wellbeing is why he decided to get vaccinated, but he’s still taking precautions, including wearing his mask until the CDC says otherwise. “We want to make sure we protect ourselves.”

Healthcare employees like George, who work in assisted living centers are covered under Phase 1a of D.C.’s vaccine distribution plan.

Samir Balile, the clinical programs manager at the 7th Street Giant said the partnership between his employer and the D.C. Department of Health and Human Services is an example of the nationwide effort to make the vaccine more accessible.

Ease of access to healthcare, he said, “[is a barrier] associated with the COVID pandemic and overall healthcare resources.”

The Moderna vaccine is being offered those healthcare workers who make an appointment at select Giant pharmacies seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The following groups are eligible to be vaccinated under Phase 1a guidance:

  • Full and part-time hospital staffing
  • Nursing and residential care facility employees
  • Outpatient providers and ancillary-care providers
  • Home health providers
  • Healthcare providers in long-term care facilities
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
  • Emergency services and public safety workers
  • Front-line public health personnel

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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