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Local pharmacies prepared for mass vaccinations


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    ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — As many hospitals and county health departments continue vaccinating, locally-owned pharmacies are pushing to join the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jerry Callahan owns five Medicine Shoppe locations in the St. Louis area. He said four of his sites were approved by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to store the vaccine. About a week ago, Callahan said he placed an order for 975 doses with the state but is still waiting to hear back about when they will arrive.

“I am excited, I’ve been working on this for a week, since I knew we could get our hands on it,” Callahan said. “I really want to make sure we get as many people vaccinated as possible as soon as possible,” Callahan said he’s teaming up with owners of other locally-owned pharmacies to collaborate on how best to vaccinate as many people as possible in a short timeframe. Tyler Taylor owns St. Louis Hills Pharmacy in South City and said he also ordered 975 doses last week and is also still waiting to hear back.

“Very excited. We’re looking forward to helping the public, all of the independents I’ve talked to are working together to get the vaccine out to people,” Taylor said.

Callahan said many pharmacies already have partnerships with 3rd party sites that will allow them to distribute the vaccine quickly to a large amount of people. The Medicine Shoppe in Affton will likely utilize a nearby church, along with its pharmacy clinic. Taylor said he received permission to use space at the daycare near his shop.

“Access is the biggest thing there are places people can enroll and register to get it, we’re just trying to be another place to allow the ease and increase distribution of the vaccine,” Taylor said.

Owners said once the vaccine arrives, they are prepared to administer about 975 doses in a two to three day time period. They’re hoping to also get assistance from pharmacy students at area colleges to help administer the shots. Callahan believes locally owned pharmacies will be more efficient than larger chains like CVS and Walgreens.

“No offense to the chains but we do a better job of taking care of our patients,” Callahan said. “We want to take care of them as best we can, and we’ll go out of our way.”

St. Louis Hills Pharmacy is allowing those interested in receiving the vaccine to sign up on its website for information. People who are registered will be contacted once a shipment of vaccine arrives and they’re able to make an appointment.

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