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Kroger vaccine scheduling sends Ohioans to Kentucky — where they can't get the shot

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 17:06:31-04

Ohioans searching for COVID-19 vaccine appointments through Kroger are still being directed to clinics in Kentucky, despite the state’s repeated warnings that providers should not vaccinate Ohioans who cross state lines for a shot.

“I did it again this morning to see if it’s happening, and it is still happening,” said Shannon Warmoth, who first attempted to schedule his shot on March 11.

Warmoth lives in southwest Ohio, but the Kroger vaccine portal — which hundreds of thousands of Ohioans will use to schedule their shots — directed him to clinics in Bellevue and Covington when he entered his information that day.

“I called Kroger and just wanted to make sure it was OK,” he said. “The lady on the other end told me it was not OK. They thought they fixed that glitch.”

They hadn’t. In a statement, a Kroger spokesperson said it was patients’ responsibility to schedule appointments within their own state, not the company’s responsibility to direct them only to valid clinics.

RELATED: Can Kentucky residents get the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio? It depends.

“We’d continue to remind folks to schedule their vaccines in their state of residence, per guidance from our legislative leaders,” the spokesperson wrote.

Warmoth eventually found his dose at the mass-vaccination clinic set up inside Xavier University’s Cintas Center. He’ll go back in April for his second shot.

Other patients at the same clinic, however, ran into a new scheduling issue: They weren’t told when their second appointment will happen. They have an approximate date range — April 8-10 — but haven’t received information about exactly when they should show up.

"My husband was never told his second appointment was scheduled nor did he have the opportunity to schedule his second appointment online,” wrote WCPO viewer Tracie Thornberry in an email.

A Kroger spokesperson said the company will reach out soon to patients without confirmed second dose appointments.

Warmoth, who struggled to schedule his first one, said he isn’t resentful of his experience but wants other vaccine seekers to be prepared.

All Ohioans over 16 will become eligible for the shot on March 29. The state’s online vaccine-scheduling tool, Get the Shot, can help hopeful patients find available appointments near them within Ohio.

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.