Feb 10, 2021 - News

Behind the scenes of an Iowa pharmacy preparing for vaccine appointments

Picture of a man talking to a pharmacist

A customer and pharmacist at Sumpter Pharmacy in Adel, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Sumpter Pharmacy

Sumpter Pharmacy in Adel, Iowa, is fielding 500 additional daily calls, Facebook messages and emails from Dallas County residents searching for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, owner Leslie Herron told Axios.

Why it matters: Time is precious, especially now that IDPH announced counties must use 80% of their vaccine allocations to become eligible for next week's allocation, KCRG reported.

  • But scheduling vaccines is more complicated than it seems, Herron said, especially since supply is so low.
  • Herron said just fielding calls nearly requires a full-time staffer.

The state of play: Pharmacies like Sumpter typically use the Moderna vaccine because of it's easier to store.

  • One vial contains 10 doses, meaning 10 appointments.
  • But a vial expires six hours after opening — and Herron said that no-shows force her to find people to ensure her supply is used up.

A tip: Sign up and check the social media accounts for surrounding local pharmacies, according to Herron.

  • She got a small shipment of vaccines and immediately notified people via Facebook.
  • "The minute we get it, we want to give it, but if people refrain from making the personal phone call, that would really help all the pharmacies," Herron said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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