Local pharmacies distributing COVID-19 vaccines; health officials asking for volunteers at mass vaccination sites

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Posted at 9:12 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 22:13:25-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Locally-owned pharmacies in Hampton Roads are doing their part to help get more COVID-19 vaccines into arms.

For Lawrence Pharmacy in Chesapeake, the last couple of weeks have been busy.

“It's been pretty crazy for a year now, just about,” Lawrence Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Chris Mercer told News 3. “A lot more phone calls.”

For Mercer, the pharmacy is like a “family” business.

“We are close with our customers. They're our second families,” he said. “Being able to help our local neighborhood, that means a lot to us.”

Two weeks ago, his pharmacy got its first 200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Those were gone very quickly, as you would expect,” Mercer said.

Tuesday, Lawrence Pharmacy received 200 more doses that are already assigned to patients.

“They're all accounted for,” Mercer said. “We have roughly 2,000 people on our waiting list. We're trying to take care of everybody as best as we can, so we just ask people to be patient with us.”

For Mercer, his team is doing everything possible to fight the pandemic.

“Everybody wants to get back to normal,” he said. “I think everybody's going to be thrilled when they don't have to wear masks again, and this is one of the steps that we have to do to do that.”

Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials told News 3 local pharmacies can still get involved with possibly distributing shots.

“Local pharmacies are a big part of our effort,” VDH Eastern Region Emergency Coordinator John Cooke said.

VDH officials said there's a need for pharmacists to volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps to help administer shots at mass vaccination sites.

“Pharmacists are quite adept at getting that extra dose,” Cooke said. “That's invaluable to us. Plus, it frees up a nurse, a paramedic, someone else who can give shots that may be more readily available.”

Related: 'The greatest thing that could happen': Couple gets COVID-19 vaccine from Williamsburg pharmacy

Mercer hopes to see other local pharmacists join up in the fight against COVID-19.

“Most of us got into this because we like working with people,” Mercer said. “What better way than to volunteer to work with the clinics that need this help getting the vaccines into arms?”

For more information on volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps, click here.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.