NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — As U.S. corporations and other companies step up to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic, Meijer Inc. is also lending a hand.

The Midwest grocer hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Wednesday and Thursday at its Norton Shores location. About 500 people were able to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine each day.

“It hurt when I got the shot, but other than that I feel fine and I’m excited that I got to get it,” Sally Vukits said after getting the vaccine Thursday afternoon.

The clinic was appointment only. Once patients got into the store, they stood in line, filled out some paperwork, got their shot and then waited 15 minutes to make sure they didn’t have a reaction.

They say it’s a big step to getting back to life as normal.

“It’s been sad. My granddaughter had a wedding scheduled and they postponed that until this year, and just not being able to connect with friends and family, feeling isolated,” Carolyn Tharp said after getting her shot.

The Norton Shores clinic is the first the organization has held in West Michigan, but it follows several others in the state. Meijer was named a federal retail partner by the state of Michigan. They have already given out shots to patients in Wayne County and Genesee County. They also have given out vaccines at their locations in other Midwest states.

“Our stores are located throughout the state of Michigan. Our goal is to enrich lives in the community,” said Senior Director of Corporate Communications Frank Guglielmi. “This was an easy way for us to step in and help our communities that have suffered so much during the pandemic.”

Guglielmi says Meijer pulled pharmacists from their 120 locations to host clinics over the last two weeks. They have now doled out nearly 20,000 vaccines regionwide.

“Being able to help people get vaccinated and ultimately get us back to where we want to be seeing — our loved ones, restaurants. This is where we need to be and this is what I’m proud to be doing,” Pharmacist Eric Moore said.

The state of Michigan still remains in Phase 1B, which means only medical professionals and people over the age of 65 are eligible to get the vaccine. Meijer says they look forward to expanding clinics once the vaccine is more readily available.

For more information on how to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine at Meijer, text “COVID” to 75049 or head to Meijer’s website.