Local pharmacies coping well with high vaccine demand

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Nationwide, an influx of customers seeking vaccines combined with staffing shortages are pushing drug stores to their limits. Many pharmacy workers are suffering from burnout, and some pharmacies are having to close temporarily due to not being able to keep up with demand. Fortunately, drug stores in the Valley area — at least two of them — have enough staff to stay open and meet customer needs.

This wasn’t always true for Valley Pharmacy & DME.

“It has been very busy for, I would say, over a year,” said Angie Moore, the pharmacist there. “Extremely busy.”

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Moore said many of her employees have had to miss work due to their kids getting sick and being required to quarantine. Within the past year, Valley Pharmacy & DME has had to close for about two hours a few times, according to Moore. She said the pharmacy experienced a significant increase in demand for vaccines after the Delta variant came out as well as recently in response to the Omicron variant.

“We have a lot more people working for us now than we have in the past because of increased volumes,” she said.

Steve Sharp, the pharmacist at Fairfax Drug Company, said his pharmacy is running smoothly.

“We’re dealing with an increase in demand for vaccines for the last couple of weeks,” he said.

Sharp said more people have been requesting their first COVID-19 shots as well as boosters.

But despite this increase in demand, his pharmacy has enough workers to meet the demand.

As of Thursday, 32,168 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Chambers County, according to the Alabama DPH. This number is up from 31,380 on Nov. 22 and from 28,526 on Nov. 2 and from 28,224 on Oct. 25, according to Chambers County EMA and 911.

16,208 people in Chambers County have received one or more doses of the vaccines, and 13,767 have completed vaccine series.