With vaccines in more stores, pharmacies go on hiring spree

Dozens of pharmacy chains and grocery stores with pharmacy counters are slated to start offering COVID-19 vaccinations this week, creating a wealth of employment opportunities.

Dozens of pharmacy chains and grocery stores with pharmacy counters are slated to start offering COVID-19 vaccinations this week, creating a wealth of employment opportunities. The companies are vying with one another—offering lucrative signing bonuses, in some cases—to hire established pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, student pharmacists, nurses, and other help. CVS Health is working toward 15,000 new vaccine-related hires, Walgreens has targeted 9,000, Kroger plans to recruit nearly 1,000 health care workers, and Rite Aid is looking to fill more than 2,000 pharmacy jobs. In December, Hy-Vee announced plans to bring on 1,000 pharmacy technicians, who now are legally authorized to administer vaccines in many states. Enrollment in APhA's immunization training program for pharmacy technicians has swelled in response, rising from 650 during 2016–19 for an earlier iteration of the program to approximately 30,000 now. An estimated 9,000 student and mid-career pharmacists have also flocked to the group's immunization training programs, up from 2,600 a year ago. "Since the vaccine got approved, our numbers have just gone through the roof," says APhA executive vice president and CEO Scott Knoer.