Charlotte pharmacist speaks about ongoing vaccination efforts as new COVID-19 variant spreads
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dr. Martez Prince, owner and pharmacist at Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center in east Charlotte, has been offering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients for several months now.
Prince said that when vaccines were first being distributed to members of the public, it was not uncommon to have 100 people a day coming to his pharmacy to get vaccinated.
However, as the weeks wore on, vaccination numbers declined. The pharmacist said it got to the point where just 10 people a day were coming to Premier Pharmacy for COVID-19 shots.
Now, as a new COVID-19 variant emerges and many people are eligible to get vaccine booster shots, Prince is once again seeing a resurgence in patients looking for protection against the coronavirus.
“There’s those two months where individuals were waiting to see if the booster would be approved and now that it’s approved for both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine, everyone’s calling to see when their date is and when they can get in,” said Prince in an interview with WBTV Thursday.
He said most of the people currently coming to the pharmacy for COVID-19 vaccine shots are individuals looking to get their booster shots and not unvaccinated people looking to begin the vaccination process.
“Those individuals who ran to get those first slots of appointments, who wanted to be vaccinated, wanted to protect themselves, we’re starting to see those people because of course, those people believe in the vaccine, they see it,” said Prince.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden said experts expect the number of coronavirus cases across the country to rise during the winter months. He is still encouraging members of the public to get vaccinated.
“We knew there’d be cases of this Omicron here in the United States and it’s here, but we have the best tools, the best vaccines in the world and the best medicine and the best scientists in the world,” said Biden.
He said his administration plans to take several steps to curb the spread of the virus this winter. Those steps include expanding the nationwide booster campaign to get more people booster shots, launching new vaccination clinics to help more children and parents get vaccinated, making free at-home COVID tests available to the public, increasing the number of surge response teams that go into communities with rising case numbers, increasing the availability of new medicine, and strengthening international travel rules.
Prince said he too is encouraging unvaccinated people to consider starting the vaccination process.
“We’re not where we need to be, however, we are seeing a pickup in and an increase in first-time vaccine recipients,” said Prince.
The pharmacist said a lot of his patients are also asking to get the flu shot because they don’t want to risk contracting any sickness that will lead to a hospital visit.
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