BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — For those 65 and older getting an appointment for a COVID vaccine has not been easy and the wait continues.
Many are now on a waiting list at independent pharmacies.
“We’re finding right now that the state is sending that allocation once a week,” stated Steve Moore, chair, Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY).
There are no Moderna COVID vaccines inside a freezer or refrigerator at Ivylea Pharmacy on Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore.
“But because we are using it so quickly, we are just putting it right in the refrigerator and it's out the door within a day or two,” explained Chuck Barone, pharmacy owner.
Barone said he only received a total of 200 vaccines so far and they're all gone.
“The demand is extremely high. We're basically answering the phone all day, pretty much from opening till close,” Barone said.
“We’ve all got a lot more patients then we do vaccine unfortunately,” Moore remarked.
Moore said this is a clear issue of supply and demand.
“So a pharmacy may not know what they're going to get right now, but they may get an email five minutes from the time — they hang up the phone saying — hey you've got a 100-doses that will be here,” Moore responded.
Moore said he encourages those who are eligible to reach out to their pharmacy to find out the process for getting vaccinated.
Ivylea started a waiting list.
“We just started a wait list and we're just kind of going down that as shots become available,” explained Barone.
For those inquiring within the pharmacy — they're very frustrated with the lack vaccines available.
“I’m 70 — this is — it's ridiculous,” declared Kathy of north Buffalo.
She said she is desperately waiting for the shot because she is also immunocompromised.
“It’s a very pathetic situation kind of thing,” noted Kathy.
But even the bigger pharmacies — like Tops and Wegmans are playing the waiting game.
“We’ve exhausted our supply that we received from the state last week — vaccines still remain in very short supply,” stated Frank Pietrantoni, operations manager, Wegmans Pharmacy.
Pietrantoni said Wegmans has four vaccine sites in the Buffalo nNiagara region, but you must go to the Wegmans website to reserve an appointment.
However, that’s not even an option until more vaccines arrive.
“The state determines allocations weekly for all providers, so that being either the county or private provider as well,” said Pietrantoni. “And for those inquiring within the pharmacy — they’re very frustrated with the lack vaccines available.”
Wegmans said its best to keep checking website to see if new appointments become available.
Smaller pharmacy operators say your best bet for now is to get on the waiting list.
“If they are able to book an appointment — they’ll be prompted for their name and insurance information as well,” Pietrantoni.
Barone said his waiting list is in the thousands.