Indian Trail family working to turn dental practice into COVID-19 vaccine, testing site

Indian Trail family working to turn dental practice into COVID-19 vaccine, testing site

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) - An Indian Trail family is hoping to combine their professions a dentist and a pharmacist to increase the state’s COVID-19 testing and vaccine efforts.

Harry Patel opened his independent pharmacy Austin Drugs a year and a half ago. Since then he and other smaller pharmacies have bee searching for ways to help the state fight COVID-19.

Patel said he is working with his wife, Hasmi, to hopefully use her dental practice as a larger site for distributing the COVD-19 vaccine and test.

Overall they said they want to make sure both the test and vaccine are accessible outside of urgent cares and large pharmacies.

“When the state designates Group 5 to be open for vaccination there’s going to be a large rush for everyone to get the vaccine so we want to serve as the community hub for our citizens and our community to help them get vaccinated as fast as we can do they’re safer,” Patel said.

If approved by the state to offer the services, Hasmi said it will be appointment based to ensure that patients have a safe and private experience.

“We would definitely do it the days where we don’t have patients in the office that way everybody feels safe coming in here still, like we said, it would be outside if anything,” Hasmi said.

Patel said he plans to work with other area pharmacists to offer the services.

“We’ve done thorough education and training to make sure whenever you do administer a COVID vaccination - what are some things to look for? What are anticipated side effects?” Patel said.

He applied for a grant from the state to get the items but said he was denied. In the meantime he’s still reaching out to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for direction, and looking for other grants.

“We want to find the best tests for our patients,” he said.

Both said it’s a matter of time and waiting for approval, but at the end of the day they say it’s about helping as much as possible during the pandemic.

“It’s definitely something that we’re open to and we’d love that face that we could be a part of it,” Hasmi said.

Patel said he’s also been talking with urgent cares and other pharmacies to figure out his logistics but is hopeful he will hear back from the state soon.

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