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Independent pharmacies offer a personal touch for vaccine distribution

Day's Miami Heights Pharmacy.jpg
Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 10:17:20-05

The state of Ohio now has more than 1,400 vaccine providers, and a key part of that growing list is independent pharmacies.

“We don’t have the flashy signs and flashy billboards necessarily, but we have relationships with our patients,” Day’s Miami Heights Pharmacy president Chuck Day said.

While major pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS are expected to carry a lot of weight in the nationwide vaccination campaign, it’s the mom-and-pop places that said they’re keeping those most at risk from falling through the cracks.

“We gave the first 10 yesterday, 15 today, we’ll do 75 tomorrow,” Day said, referring to the number of vaccines administered in his pharmacy.

He said distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination at his Bridgetown Road location is personal.

“My parents owned the store for almost 30 years, and then my wife and I bought from them last year,” Day said.

Weeks before the effects of the pandemic began, they closed their doors. Now, a year later and with a 100-dose shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they’re wide open and ready to help those in need.

“The average age of the vaccine that we’ve given so far and will in the next day or so is like, 80 plus,” Day said.

That sentiment is echoed across town at Mullaney’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply on Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge.

“I do think we’re really accessible to the community and people kind of rely on us to be able to talk and provide information and answer questions,” Mullaney’s pharmacist Abbey Lauffer said.

They got the same 100-dose shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but they’re seeing a lot more demand.

“It seems like everybody’s extremely eager to get the vaccine, which I don’t blame them,” Lauffer said.

As with most vaccine providers across the country, neither pharmacy is quite sure how many doses they’ll get until days before.

“I’m doing, I think, half a dozen or more vaccines tomorrow in cars for patients who can’t get out of their vehicle easy enough to come in here,” Day said. “So, we’re just going to offer that extra level of service.”

The Ohio Department of Health has the full list of vaccine providers online. You can search by name or by county to find the one closest to you. For those who don’t have access to the internet, you can give your local pharmacy a call.

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.