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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.

Go deeper

Feb 9, 2021 - Health

J&J CEO: Annual COVID-19 vaccine shots may be necessary for a few years

Alex Gorsky. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People might need the coronavirus vaccine annually in years to come, much like the seasonal flu shot, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate," Gorsky said at an event. "Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend of antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine."

Feb 10, 2021 - Health

FDA grants emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly COVID antibody drug

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FDA announced Tuesday it has issued an emergency use authorization for a new combination antibody drug from Eli Lilly that can treat mild to moderate COVID-19.

Why it matters: The treatment contains bamlanivimab and etesevimab which, administered together, can reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death by 70%, per an FDA statement. It can be used on patients at high risk of developing severe illnesses.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Feb 9, 2021 - Podcasts

Teachers union president walks back vaccination requirement

Randi Weingarten, president of America's second-largest teachers union, told the Axios Re:Cap podcast that she "was wrong" to say in September she'd support requiring in-school teachers to take a COVID-19 vaccine once readily available.

What she's saying: Weingarten now says that while she thinks teachers should take the vaccine she believes too many people have been scared off by misinformation.