Avi Singh draws up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Salem residents eligible for a Covid vaccine will soon have another option: local pharmacies.
Beginning the week of Feb. 8, the federal government will ship vaccine doses directly to retail pharmacies around the U.S., which can administer shots to people eligible under each state's guidelines, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients announced Tuesday.
Zients said the program would initially be very limited, including 6,500 pharmacies around the U.S., with 1 million doses shipping next week. That's on top of about 10.5 million Covid vaccine doses scheduled to ship directly to hospitals and other providers next week, he said.
In Oregon, the program includes Safeway, Albertsons and Costco locations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. But people seeking to schedule appointments will likely have to wait.
Safeway and Albertsons stores have an online scheduling tool, though no appointments were yet available at Salem-area stores as of Wednesday afternoon. The company expects to receive about 100 doses of vaccine at each of its 115 Oregon stores next week, a company spokesman told The Oregonian, but is waiting until vaccine is in hand before opening scheduling.
Costco has not yet posted information about scheduling or detailed its plans.
To schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy, people must attest they're eligible to receive a Covid vaccine under Oregon's current guidelines, which include health care workers, first responders, correctional employees, educators and child care providers. Oregonians 80 and older become eligible Feb. 8.