You must be in the appropriate priority group to receive the vaccine at Giant Eagle.By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Coronavirus vaccines are now available at Giant Eagle Pharmacies.

And customers are grateful.

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“I was trying for a very long time to get an appointment. I’m immunocompromised,” said a woman from Squirrel Hill who wanted the vaccine as soon as possible.

“Getting the shot gives me a little more protection,” said a man from McCandless who accompanied his 92-year-old father-in-law to his vaccine appointment.

People can sign up for 15-minute appointment slots during pharmacy hours. But you must be in the appropriate priority group.

“Those that are 65 and older who have a qualifying medical condition, those are the ones who can receive it by appointment right now,” says Victor Vercammen, Giant Eagle chief pandemic officer. “You must ensure that you meet those criteria. Otherwise, your appointment will be canceled.”

You can check for locations and available appointments here. If no appointment slots appear, that means the schedule is full or that particular pharmacy did not receive the vaccine.

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“In some locations, we were receiving approximately 100 doses per week, which obviously is well below the demand,” says Vercammen.

If you’re not tech-savvy, you can have a family member or friend sign you up. But you won’t be able to book multiple appointments or transfer appointments to another person. The stores are prepared for any side effects.

“We do have designated waiting areas, we do have crash boxes available in the event of a true emergency,” Vercammen said. “If there were any adverse effects, there is an FDA reporting process, and we abide by that.”

On the day of your vaccine, you will receive an appointment for the next dose. Through its partnership with federal and state suppliers, Giant Eagle expects to have enough.

“The hardest part has been predicting vaccine supply week to week,” says Vercammen. “There’s a lot of disappointment, a lot of frustration, which we sympathize with. Supply will start to get meaningfully better in the spring, so we’re all looking forward to that.”

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For now, the unprecedented demand exceeds the supply.