How California's vaccine expansion affects sign-ups at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Safeway

How California's vaccine expansion affects sign-ups at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Safeway

In this March 17, 2020, file photo, Pharmacist Evelyn Kim, wears a mask and gloves at the CVS pharmacy at Target in the Tenleytown area of Washington. The Biden administration on March 29, 2021, announced that 90 percent of all adults would be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by April 19. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

The remaining California adults who will soon become eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine will have to wait to schedule an appointment through CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Safeway until their specific eligibility dates in April.

President Biden on Monday said that 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for a vaccine by April 19. The announcement came days after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced vaccines will be available to Californians 50 or older starting April 1 and those 16 and older as of April 15.

The state is currrently vaccinating people 65 and older, health care workers, long-term care residents, some essential workers and individuals 16 and older who have disabilities or an underlying health condition.

As of Monday, the criteria to sign up for a vaccine at CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens and Safeway reflect the state’s current eligibility requirements. People who are not eligible now cannot yet sign up for a future appointment.

CVS spokeswoman Monica Prinzing said vaccine eligibility on the scheduling system online will be updated when state and federal officials change their own systems to incorporate newly eligible groups on April 1 and April 15.

“In some cases, the change in eligibility on may take up to 72 hours after the state’s update begins,” Prinzing said.

Walgreens corporate spokesperson Emily Delnicki did not provide a specific date for when the company will change its eligibility online.

We make every effort to reflect changing eligibility guidelines through our scheduler and in our stores, so that our pharmacists have the latest information available to ensure the most current guidance is carried out in our practices and procedures at the store level,” Delnicki said in a statement.

Rite Aid spokesman Christopher Savarese confirmed that the company’s online scheduling tool will update on both April 1 and April 15 to reflect the state’s eligibility rules.

“As soon as we receive guidance from the CDC and California state Department of Health we make eligibility updates,” he said.

Safeway is currently prioritizing eligible groups for the vaccine and asking individuals to show proof of eligibility on the day of their appointment. “Anyone who shows up for an appointment and are not from a qualified phase and tier priority group will be denied a vaccine,” according to the company’s website.

A Safeway representative did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Chronicle regarding when the company plans to change its eligibility.

Individuals who are currently eligible but having a difficult time finding an appointment can schedule one at a pharmacy outside their ZIP code or county for all four companies.

“There are instances when patients may seek locations elsewhere within the state and outside of their local ZIP code that are more convenient to schedule an appointment,” Prinzing said.

For more information and to schedule an appointment (walk-ins not accepted):

Walgreens: Eligible individuals can schedule an appointment here, or call 1-800-Walgreens or 1-800-925-4733 to find participating locations.

Rite Aid: Start with the vaccine scheduler to determine vaccine eligibility and schedule an appointment.

CVS: Visit the online scheduler or the CVS app to book an appointment.

Safeway: Start here by searching for a nearby store, confirm eligibility and schedule an appointment.

Jessica Flores is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @jesssmflores