Smaller pharmacies will not receive more COVID-19 vaccines from the state

Written by on March 25, 2021

Smaller pharmacies will not receive more COVID-19 vaccines from the state

By Brittany Sweeney

March 25, 2021

A health worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for members of Madrid Emergency Service (SUMMA) in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Spain’s rate of infection has shot up to 435 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks, prompting new restrictions as authorities try to bring vaccination up to speed. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently decided to allocate COVID-19 vaccines to providers who can get the greatest amount of shots administered.

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But that means many smaller shops will be cut off.

Independent pharmacies play a pivotal role in getting the COVID vaccine to people who may not be able to reach larger vaccine clinics.

Hartzell’s Pharmacy in Catasauqua, for example, has administered almost 4,000 doses of vaccine since January, but the state’s decision means it won’t get any more first doses.

Owner Vince Hartzell says he is disappointed with the decision.

“My concern with it is there’s a group of the patient population that I don’t think mass vaccination clinics are the best way to go. Individuals that suffer from disabilities, whether that’s mental, physical or developmental, of going to a mass vaccination clinic might not be something that they can easily do,” Hartzell says. 

Additionally, a local pharmacy is easier to get to, he says. He has even traveled to people’s homes to administer shots when they didn’t have transportation.

“I think what’s happening is the state’s trying to get as many doses into arms as humanly possible and they’re leveraging providers out there that can do it. Those vulnerable patients are going to fall through the cracks because they’re not going to be able to get out to a mass vaccination clinic,” he says.

Hartzell’s pharmacy still has some first doses to administer, but he suggests people get on as many vaccine waiting lists as possible and go to the first appointment that opens up.

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