Ohio pharmacies ready to handle huge demand for COVID-19 vaccines

Ohio pharmacies ready to handle huge demand for COVID-19 vaccines

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The supply of COVID-19 vaccines to pharmacies is now doubling nationwide to two million doses a week, according to the Biden administration.

19 News is checking into how Ohio pharmacists are handling the huge demand.

Pharmacists are making sure everything runs smoothly as COVID-19 vaccine doses come in.

The challenge is keeping up with everyday demand.

“The problem is they still need to fill the 400 or 500 prescriptions that come in every day. Do flu shots, do other things. So their capacity to do an unlimited just, of course, is not there,” said Ernest Boyd, Executive Director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association.

The organization represents 12,000 pharmacists across the state.

He assured us pharmacies across the state can handle the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our pharmacists are well equipped to handle what’s coming in. Now volume, no, we haven’t had this kind of volume. But the procedures are not foreign to us. And pharmacies have the best pipeline of drugs coming in and the best pipeline of anything,” Boyd said.

Boyd is working with Governor DeWine’s office to get more vaccine doses to independent pharmacies, especially in cities and rural areas.

There are about 500 independent pharmacies in Ohio.

“Especially with older people who are home bound, they can’t be traveling to a chain that’s 20 minutes away. And in many areas of Ohio, we have what are called pharmacy deserts, where it’s very hard to get to the next pharmacy. And if you’re pharmacy is an independent, it might be 20-30 miles and if you don’t have a car you’re really stuck. So it is critical these independents get the vaccine,” he said.

Boyd said 20 independent pharmacies have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine so far and that should double soon.

He thinks the supply to all pharmacies will speed up quickly.

“I think within a month, I’ll be asked how can we get people to take the vaccine rather than, where is the vaccine?” Boyd said.

Many pharmacies are now hiring as they get more doses.

More priority groups qualify this week in Ohio, and thousands of people are trying to set up appointments by phone and online.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. will have 600 million doses by the end of July, enough to vaccinate every single American.

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