New York City pharmacist starts pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites

Ambar Keluskar, a pharmacist at Rossi Pharmacy in New York City, told The New York Times that after being unable to find people to take 200 COVID-19 vaccines he had at his pharmacy, he created pop-up vaccination sites around the city. 

Mr. Keluskar said state rules restrict who can get shots at pharmacies to teachers, child care workers and people over age 60. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said pharmacies may lack the ability to verify the identity and occupation of people in other eligible groups, the Times reported. 

Rossi Pharmacy was operating at a loss after investing about $15,000 in equipment, such as a freezer, needed to handle COVID-19 vaccines, Mr. Keluskar told the Times. The pharmacy had been giving the shots since January, but by early March the pharmacy was struggling to find people to take the vaccines. 

Mr. Keluskar said he believes the opening of a mass vaccination site near his pharmacy may have contributed to the lack of people signing up for vaccination slots, as well as the state restricting who could get vaccinated at a pharmacy. 

He decided instead to create several small pop-up vaccination sites to take the vaccine to areas in need. Earlier in March, Mr. Keluskar vaccinated nearly 50 people at a senior affordable housing complex in Brooklyn who were homebound or struggling to find appointments, the Times reported. 

Last week, he also vaccinated more than 150 people at a public housing complex in Brooklyn called Ingersoll Houses. 

Mr. Keluskar said he would begin asking the federal government for a bigger allocation of doses so he could continue doing pop-up vaccination sites in communities in need, according to the Times. He said he has administered nearly 2,000 vaccines and could vaccinate more people if the state lifted its restrictions on pharmacies. 

A spokesperson for New York City's health department told the Times that community pharmacies have played an important role in the city's vaccination campaign, building unique levels of trust in the communities. 

Read the full article here.

More articles on pharmacy:
Moderna studying COVID-19 vaccine's use in children, refrigerator-safe vaccine
FDA studying how drug names influence perceived efficacy
CDC: Most people return for second COVID-19 vaccine dose

 

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