FILE — Carlos Martinez, left, and Olivia Martinez wear face coverings as they leave Safeway on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Yakima, Wash.

Grocery store chain Albertsons, which includes Safeway, announced Tuesday it will be expanding its vaccine administration capabilities next week as a primary participant in Washington state’s Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership Program. 

The company is administering the COVID-19 vaccine in 32 of its pharmacies in Washington. That number will grow to all 170 of its locations as early as Feb. 11, when it expects to receive additional doses from the federal government. 

In Yakima, four out of five Safeway locations have a pharmacy. Those sites are:

  • 205 N 5th Ave.
  • 5702 Summitview Ave.
  • 1610 W Lincoln Ave.
  • And 905 E Meade Ave.

There is no pharmacy at the 2204A W. Nob Hill Blvd. store. 

In the lower valley, pharmacies are located at:

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  • 711 W 1st Ave in Toppenish
  • 613 S 6th St in Sunnyside
  • 610 E Wine Country Rd in Grandview

The development comes as President Joe Biden’s administration announced Tuesday that it will be expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines, freeing up more doses for states and beginning to distribute them to retail pharmacies. 

David Green, director of pharmacy operations for Safeway, said the company is gearing up for the shift.

Our pharmacy teams are preparing to handle the unprecedented demand and administer the vaccine safely and efficiently as members of the public become eligible," he said.

Those eligible for the vaccine can make an appointment at a Safeway by going to https://mhealthappointments.com/covidappt.  

Washington is in Phase 1B tier 1 of vaccine distribution. The vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19.

Margaux Maxwell reports for the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She can be reached at mmaxwell@yakimaherald.com

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Margaux Maxwell reports for the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She can be reached at mmaxwell@yakimaherald.com.