Smaller pharmacies preparing to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

Neighborhood pharmacies planning for vaccine

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Smaller, locally-owned pharmacies and drug stores are waiting on their chance to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many have applied with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and are in the process of completing the required trainings to offer the vaccine at their respective locations.

“Our staff has been training we have ten staff members ready to go the moment that we get the vaccine and start immunizing people,” said Phil Icard, the owner of Peoples Drug Store in Taylorsville.

In Charlotte, Greg Deese is wrapping up trainings with the state to administer the vaccine at Oakhurst Pharmacy in East Charlotte.

“Here at Oakhurst I want to be a part of the solution,” Deese said.

Unlike bigger pharmacies and hospitals, Deese did have to get his own storage freezer and make space to keep the vaccine at the right temperature.

“I bought a special thermometer that measures to make sure that temperature is kept between those guidelines,” Deese said.

Icard said if they get enough doses they plan to do their own mass immunization drive on the weekends with the help of nurses, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians.

He said their goal is to give the vaccine to thousands of people over the course of a 12-hour day on Saturdays and Sundays.

“We do have a plan to schedule appointments, looking for a remote place to give vaccines so that we can do as many shots as possible in as little amount [of time] as possible,” said Peoples Drug Store pharmacy technician Donna Pennell.

Icard and his staff said distributing the vaccine is more than just their duty, it’s personal.

“We’ve lost about 1 in 950 people in our county who have died because of COVID and that makes it personal, it’s our personal goal to put an end to this,” Icard said.

Both pharmacists said they have not received any information from NCDHHS on when they will be able to start offering the vaccine.

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