Safeway, Albertsons across Washington won’t require appointments for COVID-19 vaccines

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Safeway, Albertsons across Washington won’t require appointments for COVID-19 vaccines

Those 16 and older can now go to Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies in Washington and get a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment, the company announ

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Those 16 and older can now go to Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies in Washington and get a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment, the company announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes as officials across Washington continue to urge people to get vaccinated as soon as they can to slow the spread of the virus and protect themselves and the community.

The pharmacies will be offering one of the three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. People who are only looking for a second dose appointment can get in touch with their pharmacy to make sure they can get the right vaccine.

People can still schedule appointments for vaccines at Safeway and Albertsons, but they are not required. When people receive their first dose, their second appointment will be scheduled automatically. 

In recent days, local officials in Seattle and King County have been advertising thousands of open appointments at vaccine clinics in the region. That marked a change from just weeks earlier, when the state was struggling with vaccine supply and people were vying for a limited number of open slots.

This week, several Seattle and King County clinics also started offering walk-in appointments — an effort to make it even easier for people to get their vaccines without having to navigate the online system. The sites offering walk-in appointments include the Lumen Field Event Center, Rainier Beach and West Seattle locations. 

“Seattle is making it easier than ever to quickly and easily get vaccinated. As of today, nearly 70 percent of eligible Seattleites have begun their vaccination progress. This is an incredible milestone, and if we continue this effort, we’ll reach a level of community protection where so many of us – particularly our most vulnerable – will be protected from the most serious effects of this virus,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement earlier this week.

“We’ve reached a turning point in our vaccination efforts: Now anyone who wants a vaccination in Seattle and King County can get one. If you have already been vaccinated, be a good neighbor and help your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers get vaccinated. It’s up to all of us to defeat this pandemic.”

According to the most recent data, about 66% of adults in King County have received at least one vaccine dose and about 44% are fully vaccinated. That means still about 60% of people in the county are not yet fully protected from the virus.

Vaccines are a key tool in stopping the spread of the virus and allowing people to resume more normal activities. But until more people are vaccinated, it’s important to continue taking precautions including wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, officials said. 

The state over the past several weeks had been seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. In recent days, cases have started to flatten, but officials are still unsure what the trajectory of the pandemic will look like in the weeks to come. 

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