MEDFORD, Ore. — All Safeway and Albertsons stores in southern Oregon will be receiving and administering doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, the company confirmed to NewsWatch 12 on Wednesday.
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it would begin sending shipments of vaccine directly to retail pharmacies beginning next week. The CDC said that Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, Costco, and Albertsons will be participating in the initial program.
"Throughout the pandemic, the communities we serve have trusted our pharmacy teams to play a critical role in maintaining their health and wellness," said Jill McGinnis, spokesperson for Safeway and Albertsons. "Our pharmacy teams have been preparing to handle the unprecedented demand and administer the COVID-19 vaccine safely and efficiently as members of the public become eligible."
McGinnis said that Safety and Albertsons pharmacies would receive their first direct shipments of vaccine through the program starting next week. Those doses will be administered based on Oregon's eligibility guidelines.
"As noted by the CDC, supply will be limited in the initial phase of the partnership," McGinnis continued. "As vaccine supply increases, more of our pharmacies will participate in this federal program."
Both Albertsons and Safeway have online portals for scheduling vaccination appointments, with more added to the online scheduler as doses arrive. Until the shipments have are on-hand, appointments will not be available.
"Demand is high and appointments are often claimed very quickly, and we ask the public to remain patient," McGinnis said. "As dose allocations increase, so too will the opportunity to secure an appointment. The company is kindly asking the public to please check the website first for the most up-to-date information, before calling your local store or pharmacy."
Under Oregon's guidelines, Phase 1a and the first group of Phase 1b are currently eligible to receive vaccines — this includes healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care facilities, childcare workers and school staff. The first group of seniors, those 80 and older, become eligible on February 8.