Home » Hitchcock’s Fills COVID-19 Vaccine Gap In Rural Communities

Hitchcock’s Fills COVID-19 Vaccine Gap In Rural Communities


Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 12:35 pm

When allocating vaccines, the CDC considers the number of residents 18 years or older in each jurisdiction. This means less access to the COVID-19 vaccines for people living in rural areas with small populations.

According to the CDC, roughly 38.9 percent of rural populations have received at least one shot thus far, compared to 45.7 percent in urban areas. This is a huge gap, and one that Alachua, Florida-based Hitchcock’s is working hard to fill every day. 

Since April 1, Hitchcock’s Markets has been working to administer the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines to its communities and throughout its stores in North Central Florida, mostly located in medically underserved areas. The residents in these communities face significant challenges when trying to get the vaccine for themselves and their families, such as having to travel long distances.

With two pharmacies and 12 grocery stores, Hitchcock’s took it upon itself to offer the vaccine in its stores in underserved areas by setting up clinics where people can sign up for an appointment or just walk in and receive their COVID vaccine.

“Our stores are located in areas where we are usually the only ones in town offering the vaccine, so we are extremely happy to be able to bring the vaccine to our small communities,” said Dr. Timothy-John Grainger-Rousseau, the pharmacy manager at Hitchcock’s.

People living in rural areas are a part of the thousands of vulnerable Americans who are struggling to find vaccines, in turn threatening to prolong the pandemic. According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, more than 1.6 million people must travel more than 20 miles to the nearest pharmacy. This is why Hitchcock’s is working hard to bring the pharmacies to these rural areas through clinics in each of its stores. Through these efforts the retailer is helping to closing the COVID vaccine accessibility gap in small communities around Florida.

The results from a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 61 percent of Americans stated that they had already gotten or would get the vaccine as soon as possible, up from just 29 percent in December 2020. As vaccine hesitancy decreases, Hitchcock’s will be there to do what is necessary to reach every resident with the offer of a vaccine.

People interested in getting their COVID-19 vaccine can visit vaccinations.myhitchocks.com to sign up at their local Hitchcock’s Market or call their local store to find out when the next clinic will be.


On May 13, the CDC announced that indoor and outdoor activities can resume without masks if one is fully vaccinated in most settings. After much consideration, Hitchcock’s Markets has decided that its associates may choose to not wear a mask if they have been fully vaccinated. Associates that have not been fully vaccinated will continue to wear masks, according to company policy. Customers may continue to choose whether or not they would like to wear a mask in the stores. 

Ultimately, Hitchcock’s wants customers and employees to feel safe and comfortable in its stores. Social distancing efforts will remain in place such as sneeze guards at the registers, social distancing stickers throughout the store, increased sanitization efforts, and Hitchcock’s will continue to offer free delivery and curbside pick-up for all customers.

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