Independent pharmacies in South Carolina waiting on vaccine doses

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LAMAR, S.C. (WBTW) — Local pharmacies are still wondering when they will receive their share of COVID-19 vaccines to administer to their area.

The owner and staff at Lamar Family Pharmacy located on West Main Street in Lamar says after a month with speaking with News13, they still have heard nothing from DHEC.

“It is frustrating,” Michelle Vargas, owner and registered pharmacist says. “We almost feel like we are almost left out because we are smaller. We don’t have the big pull that some other bigger pharmacies have, but we are still here, and we are able, and we are willing to vaccinate, and we have the time, and we have the staff, and we want to get these people vaccinated but we just don’t have the resources.”

Staff members at the Family Pharmacy say they have been taking a COVID vaccine call list of those in the community who cannot get to outside areas to receive their vaccines. The vaccine call list allows staff to take the names, age and numbers of those who inquire about the vaccine. Vargas says whenever they receive the vaccine or an update from DHEC, they will then call those people.

“I wish they would give us some sort of timeline. Is it going to be 4 weeks? Is it going to be 2 months? When? You know give us some answer that we can give the patients,” Vargas says.

On Wednesday afternoon, DHEC held a media briefing discussing a solution to reaching pharmacies in rural areas.

“We’re going to be hearing more about more vaccines coming our way next week, additional doses of vaccines and so we will probably, if there are areas where we are not filling, we’ll simultaneously work on getting more outreach there,” Nick Davidson, DHEC Senior Deputy for Public Health, says.

For now, Vargas is having to tell patients that they don’t have the vaccine and suggest an alternative if they don’t wish to wait.

“If they can get to those areas go ahead and get the vaccine, that’s the most important thing, getting their vaccine. I tell them if I do receive it, when I do receive it, I will call them. If they’ve already gotten it, that’s fine. We are encouraging them not to wait on us,” Vargas says.

Vargas also stated that she and staff are still taking a list of names of those in the community who cannot go to other areas.

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