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All hands on deck, including community pharmacies, for vaccination effort 

All hands on deck, including community pharmacies, for vaccination effort  ‘It’s going to take every single one of us across all types of health care to provide this’ 

SPRINGDALE, Ark. – On a recent Saturday, Community Pharmacy of Springdale partnered with two other community pharmacies to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to 609 health care workers – about 18 patients every 10 minutes, says pharmacist/owner Victoria Hennessey. 

“It was highly efficient, but it took a village of volunteers,” she said. “Student pharmacists played a critical role, (as did) the Office of Emergency Management, staff members and volunteers to help with logistics.” 

The federal government announced in November that it would make the COVID-19 vaccine available through community pharmacies, in addition to chains like Walgreens and CVS, and health systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval to the first vaccine on Dec. 11 and the first shot was given Dec. 14. 

Community Pharmacy of Springdale received its first shipment of the vaccine Jan. 5. Demand has been high in the small city of about 80,000, which has a large Hispanic and Pacific Islander population that has been hit hard by the pandemic, Hennessey says. To manage the influx of calls, the pharmacy has set up a dedicated voice mail to route vaccine-related queries and to allow staff to continue to manage routine business. It also plans to roll out a scheduling app. 

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook, which is wonderful – it’s a good thing that so many people want it,” she said. “We’re getting a lot of calls from patients and family members who want their mother or grandmother vaccinated.” 

Allowing community pharmacies to offer the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to getting Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, says Hennessey.  

“People trust their independent community pharmacy,” she said. “They come with all kinds of health care questions. This isn’t independents vs. chains vs. hospitals. It’s going to take every single one of us across all types of health care to provide this vaccine.” 


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