Washington pharmacies prepare for a stampede of COVID-19 vaccine booster seekers – Community News
Covid-19

Washington pharmacies prepare for a stampede of COVID-19 vaccine booster seekers

Recent FDA approval makes all adults eligible for an additional dose.

The rush for COVID-19 vaccine boosters just days after the Food and Drug Administration approved the supplemental doses late last week.

Thanks to the agency’s approval, people across western Washington can hunt for their gunshot in the arm. While some may have to travel to find their extra dose, many local pharmacies are on hand to get people vaccinated.

One pharmacy that distributes the COVID-19 vaccine is Ostroms Drug and Gifts, a Kenmore fixture since 1961. While prescriptions have been their bread and butter for the past 60 years, their current focus is on making the vaccine available to those who want it .

“We’re doing a lot of vaccinations right now,” said Matt Binder, a pharmacist at Ostroms. “Probably about 1,200 COVID shots in the past month, including about 75 on Saturday.”

Like many other companies, Ostroms uses an appointment system that checks out every 15 minutes. They take walk-ins whenever they can.

Binder said their ability to assist walk-in requests is limited due to the small space designated for their observation area.

“If we can take walk-ins, we usually advise them that it will take 45 to 60 minutes to get everything right and ready.”

When the vaccine was rolled out in April, availability was initially limited, forcing many to drive to other cities for their doses.

“As I give people these booster shots, I look at their maps and see a lot of the Monroe Fairgrounds or maybe [Lumen Field]’ says Bind. “Some people really had to go out of their way to get in somewhere, so it’s definitely a better situation these days. Any drug store like ours can help people in their own neighborhood.”

However, in an email to KING 5, Public Health – Seattle and King County said that “some patients may experience wait times to get a repeat appointment due to early demand exceeding the number of vaccinators and/or clinic space at vaccine sites and clinics.”

Many people will be going on vacation, which is why Binder says now is a good time to get vaccinated.

“The holiday season is coming up again and last year we had a pretty bad spike that really kicked off this holiday season and kicked into the season,” Binder said. “These vaccines are the way out of this and move on to better days ahead.”

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