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Independent pharmacy in rural Virginia works to get vaccines to residents

Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 06:57:45-04

BLACKSTONE, Va. --The coronavirus vaccine roll-out appears to be moving quickly for a lot of areas in Central Virginia, but there are fewer vaccines and vaccination events open for people the farther you travel from Richmond.

Some independent pharmacies are working to get vaccine doses to people who need them.

Spencer’s Drug Store in Blackstone is one of only three locations in that part of the Southside offering the COVID-19 vaccine, and their supply is limited.

"It's a little bit difficult just not knowing the amount of inventory we'll get from week to week," said pharmacistc, Keri Yancey. "We order one week, we receive later that week and then we call and schedule appointments for the following week to vaccinate. So, it is a lot of work just in a short time frame to get people in and out quickly."

Yancey said her small pharmacy has been receiving roughly 100 doses a week, and their 10-person staff has been tasked with scheduling vaccine appointments, giving them out and continuing to run the business.

"My whole staff has been tremendous," Yancey explained. "None of this would have been possible without them. From answering the telephones, we've been bombarded with phone calls, to scheduling appointments, creating lists, everyone has stepped up."

Spencer's Drug has vaccinated nearly 1,000 people, but Yancey said she’s also noticed some vaccine hesitancy in Nottoway County.

"We try to just tell everyone that it is safe, and there's data behind it," she noted. "There have been studies, we've read the studies, we know, we know that it's safe in the population based on those studies, and MRNA vaccines have been studied for a long time."

Yancey said she expects the pharmacy to start vaccinating those in Phase 1C this week, but until they can get everyone in for appointments, she asks that you continue to wear your mask and social distance.

"The biggest thing is just be patient," said Yancey. "We're all working as hard as we can. We're doing the best that we can."

The Piedmont Health District will be holding two large vaccination clinics this week.

On Wednesday, 500 Johnson & Johnson doses will be available at a clinic at Amelia County Middle School. Friday, they will hold the same event at Charlotte County High School.

Both events are by appointment only. For more information click here.