You may be able to get your COVID-19 shot in the same place you used to buy your favorite pair of jeans. Public health officials across the country are turning closed Sears department stores and other shuttered retail outlets into huge vaccination centers. Experts say that the sprawling stores are perfect for social distancing for both healthcare workers and vaccine recipients.
According to The Wall Street Journal, vacant stores and shopping centers closed by the COVID-19 pandemic or by economic reasons have been used as drive-through testing sites in the past and are now being repurposed into facilities to vaccinate Americans. Sears has been forced to shut down hundreds of stores over the past few years after it lost customers to discount and home improvement chains.
The large retail spaces and ample parking facilities have lured healthcare systems to utilize these assets for vaccine registration, administration of the shot, and subsequent follow-up care for individuals to ensure they do not have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.
The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County is using an old Sears’ parking lot as a drive-through vaccine clinic. It was using the adjacent Sears’ Auto Center for COVID-19 testing.
“It was vacant at the time we needed it,” said a county spokesperson, according to the Journal. “The logistics of parking and a place to have staff out of the weather made it a great location.”
According to NBC News, empty Kmart and Sears stories in New Jersey will be soon converted into mega-vaccination centers.
As one 48-year-old nurse pulled into an old Sears Auto Center in New Hampshire to have her vaccine administered by a member of the National Guard, she quipped that the experience was “no weirder than anything else this year,” according to the Journal.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.