Giant pharmacies are now offering walk-in COVID-19 vaccine appointments on Monday and Tuesday mornings at all 25 of their locations in Fairfax County.

Giant Foods announced yesterday (May 3) that all of its pharmacies across the D.C. region are allowing for walk-in vaccine appointments from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. This includes 25 locations in the county, a Giant spokesperson confirms to Reston Now.

Walk-ins are available for those looking to receive either their first or second dose. For people receiving a first dose, pharmacists will help schedule an appointment for the second dose.

There’s a limited supply available for walk-ins at this time, and appointments are still required for those looking to receive the vaccine at 9 a.m. or later.

Vaccines are being provided at no cost, but Giant is asking residents to bring their health insurance card and driver’s license to their appointment.

Patients will not be denied access to the vaccine if no health insurance is provided, Giant confirms.

Residents can check what vaccine is being offered at specific pharmacies before walking in or making an appointment.

Currently, everyone 16 years and older is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved for adults 18 years and older.

Giant pharmacies that were previously offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are once again doing so, a spokesperson tells Reston Now.

This comes after Fairfax County and Virginia paused the use of the vaccine in mid-April for over a week to review reports of a few patients developing very rare blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

The pause was lifted on April 23 after both the FDA and CDC expressed confidence that the vaccine was safe and effective.

“Upon review of available data, the FDA and CDC both agreed that the known and potential benefits of the Janssen vaccine outweigh the risks in individuals 18 years of age and older,” Giant says on its vaccine information webpage.

The Fairfax County Health Department told Reston Now last week that they are aware the pause may make some hesitant about taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the county still gets inquiries from who residents prefer it, since it requires just one dose and provides immunity more quickly than the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

A glance at the list of what specific Giant pharmacies in the county are offering reveals that more are providing the Pfizer vaccine than the other vaccines. Johnson & Johnson is being offered at the second most pharmacies, with Moderna being offered at the fewest number of locations.

Photo via Giant Food

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Fairfax County is continuing to partner with Giant to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at eight pharmacies, county health officials say.

Giant Food announced earlier this week that vaccines will be available at all 152 in-store pharmacies in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Previously, the supermarket company was offering vaccines at about half of its in-store pharmacies.

The announcement, however, does not change the ongoing partnership between the county and Giant first established in February, in which Giant uses a portion of its vaccine supply to inoculate individuals on the county’s waitlist, county health officials confirm to Reston Now.

The eight Giant pharmacies working in partnership with the county are using the Pfizer vaccine and include locations in Annandale, Alexandria, Herndon, and Springfield, according to county health officials.

The Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine dashboard shows that 26,395 people remain on the waitlist, meaning they are eligible, registered, and waiting for an invitation to schedule an appointment. As of noon today, the county is currently making appointments for those who registered on March 25.

Giant’s vaccine supply comes from the federal vaccination program, while the county receives allocations from the Virginia Department of Health.

There are also more than dozen other Giant locations in Fairfax County that are offering the vaccine but not in partnership with the county, which can be obtained going through the store’s appointment scheduler.

A Giant spokesperson tells Reston Now that each in-store pharmacy in the county currently has, on average, 15 to 20 appointments daily. They are using the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

Overall, local health departments and retail pharmacies like Giant have administered the most doses by far in Virginia. Pharmacies have administered nearly 880,000 doses, and local health departments have administered about 1.17 million doses.

While Giant notes on its website that those 65 and over will be “prioritized,” all individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b are eligible, including first responders, grocery workers, and public transit workers (including rideshare drivers).

Officials needed to maintain continuity of government, clergy, and janitorial staff were also added to Fairfax County’s eligibility list earlier this week.

The county announced yesterday (Thursday) that they will move into Phase 1c next week and plan to expand eligibility to all adults by April 18, per Gov. Ralph Northam’s timeline.

The county health department and its partners have administered 390,740 vaccine doses so far — an increase of 27,000 doses from yesterday and enough for approximately 34% of the county’s population, though the total includes first and second doses.

According to the VDH, 333,353 Fairfax County residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 170,365 residents have been fully vaccinated.

Photo via Giant Food

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Flu Shots Available at Giant Food Stores in Reston — “Giant Food announced Monday flu shots are available at in-store pharmacies, including locations in the Reston area. The flu vaccines are administered by Giant pharmacists and do not require an appointment.” [Reston Patch]

County Fire Chief Selected for Award — “Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department  Fire Chief John Butler has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 International Association of Fire Chiefs President’s Awards of Recognition.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Underwhelming Response to Sale of Comscore — “ComScore, based at Reston Town Center, has been pursuing a sale since late 2019. Comscore Inc.’s attempt to sell itself has hit some snags — its potential suitors’ offers thus far have been underwhelming, it said in new Securities and Exchange Commission filings.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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In response to the novel coronavirus, several local stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors and high-risk customers.

We’ve rounded up what we know so far about these hours, although some grocers have not defined the age minimum for being classified as a senior.

Here’s the latest update on specialized shopping hours for seniors and high-risk people:

  • Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market: First hour of shopping every day
  • Target: First hour of shopping on Wednesdays
  • Giant: Individuals who are age 60 or above and people with compromised immune systems between 6-7 a.m.
  • Safeway (Hunters Woods and South Lakes Village Centers): Between 7-9 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, according to store representatives
  • Walgreens: Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m., also open to caregivers and immediate families
  • Trader Joe’s: Mondays from 9-10 a.m.
  • Whole Foods Market: The location at 11660 Plaza America Drive opens at 8 am., but guests age 60 and above can shop at 7 a.m.
  • Though MOM’s Organic Market in Herndon isn’t hosting specialized hours yet, a store staffer said that headquarters is considering options to keep shoppers safe.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market in Herndon does not have special hours, a customer service representative said.

We’ll update this list as we hear from more local businesses about next steps.

Ashley Hopko contributed reporting

Photo by cbreezy

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A Georgia resident was arrested for pretending to be a doctor and prescription fraud late last week.

Xavier Knowles, 22, was arrested on Friday, July 12 at a local Giant (2551 John Milton Drive). Police said he tried to pass a fraudulent prescription was stopped by officers as he left the store.

Knowles was charged with three counts of assuming the title of doctor and selling or distributing a schedule-V narcotic, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

FCPD’s Reston District Station also reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

11900 block of Barrel Cooper Court, cell phone from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, property from vehicle2500 block of Centreville Road, wallet from location

12000 block of Edgemere Circle, license plate from vehicle

2300 block of Glen Echo Road, charger from vehicle

11600 block of Hunters Green Court, keys from vehicle

2300 block of Hunters Woods Plaza, groceries from business

2500 block of John Milton Drive, beer from business

1400 block of Powells Tavern Place, necklace from residence

11800 block of Spectrum Center, beer from business

11800 block of Sunrise Valley Drive, keys from location

700 block of Walker Road, wallet from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

1900 block of Weybridge Lane, 2017 Toyota Prius

In an unrelated incident, someone entered a garage on the 1100 block of Round Pebble Lane on Saturday, July 13 at around 9 a.m.

A bicycle was taken. The individual also entered a car parked in the driveway, but nothing was taken from the car.

Photo via FCPD

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The food pantry at South Lakes High School, which was established by the school’s PTSA in 2017, is now offering healthy eating workshops.

The workshops are funded by a $7,000 Delta Dream Grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and aim to educate students about healthy eating.

Recently, nutritionist Kristen McGill of Giant Food gave a cooking demonstration and answered students’ question about how to eat healthy on a budget. Students learned about differing cutting techniques, how to make vegetarian chili, and the best and fastest way to cook rice. She also walked students through sources of healthy fats.

Students were given goodie bags with coupons, avocados, a wooden spoon, and informational material on healthy eating on a budget.

The pantry was created to help students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals — nearly 30 percent of the student population. The pantry is also open to South Lakes Pyramid students and their families.

Currently, the pantry needs the items below. Drop-offs are accepted at the school’s main office.

  • Toiletries
  • Canned goods
  • Boxed or dry goods
  • Cooking oil
  • Laundry detergent, dish soap

Photo via YouTube/FCPS

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Korean grocery chain H Mart will hold its grand opening this Saturday in the Elden Street Marketplace.

Located at 1228 Elden Street, H Mart is taking the spot vacated by Giant Food in November after it relocated to Centreville Road. 

H Mart, which is operated by the Hanahreum Group in New Jersey, describes itself a “one-stop shop for everything Asian and more.” The grocery chain has more than 60 stores across 12 states, including California, Illinois, Georgia and New York. 

The Herndon opening will mark H Mart’s seventh store in Virginia, with stores already in Falls Church, Annadale and Fairfax, according to the website.

The grand opening starts at 9 a.m. on Dec. 22 and will include free gifts for its Smart Card members and giveaways.

Photo via Google Maps

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A grocery store shuffle is underway in Herndon following the departure of local Shoppers locations.

Giant Food at 1228 Elden Street has officially closed its doors and relocated to Centreville Road as of today, roughly 1.3 miles away from the former location. The store opened at 6 a.m. today, a customer service representative told Reston Now. The Elden Street location closed at midnight.

The new location at 2425 Centreville Road was previously occupied by Shoppers. H-Mart, a Korean grocery store operated by the Hanahreum Group in New Jersey, is scheduled to move into the Elden Street location. No opening date has been confirmed yet.

Giant Food has announced plans to move into other abandoned Shoppers stores. Shoppers closures went into effect after the parent company announced an intentional shift to move the business from retail to wholesale.

Photos via Giant Food

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Giant Food is opening a new location in Herndon, according to an announcement by the company today.

The new grocery store is located at 2425 Centreville Road and will open on Nov. 9. It takes up space formerly occupied by Shoppers.

The company issued the following statement announcing the opening:

“Our team is very happy to have the opportunity to invest in two new stores in Virginia, a market Giant has had a presence in for 77 years,” said Gordon Reid, president of Giant Food. “Both stores in Herndon and Alexandria will feature excellent selections and offerings for shoppers, such as a delicious hot food bar, larger produce department, expanded ethnic and international food selections and full-service deli, seafood, meat and floral departments. These stores are an exciting piece of our ongoing expansion and improvement initiatives.”

Customers who shop at 1228 Elden Street will not experience any interruption in service due to the opening, according to company officials.

However, the company does plan to shutter the Elden Street location at Elden Street Marketplace soon.

Photo by Garlon Cheng

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