BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Eligible senior citizens, 65 and older, are now able to get the coveted COVID-19 vaccine from a Tops Friendly Market pharmacist. Nearly three dozen stores are vaccinating seniors only.
These pharmacists are using Moderna's vaccine.
This vaccination is for those 65 and older only and not for anyone else in groups 1A or 1B. This is per state regulation. Pharmacies statewide are only vaccinating seniors.
Tops is reporting 2,300 people statewide have already received the vaccine in their stores. They are only scheduling appointments based on the number of vaccines they have in stock.
Kathy Sautter is the spokesperson for Tops. She says they're taking a different approach to scheduling.
"We're kind of taking that walk before you run approach. I think people are appreciative of that because we haven't had to cancel appointments. People are able to come to their appointment at the scheduled time," Sautter said.
Appointments are made online and online only. They are quickly scooped up and are hard to come by because of a lack of vaccine available statewide.
Sautter says every single dose is being used in a given day.
"We are made to be accountable for each dose we are receiving from the State [of New York]. Every day we have to account to the State Department of Health for every dose we have administered," Sautter said.
If there is vaccine left over, Sautter says pharmacists are looking within.
"So we're finding at the end of the day, we don't have an extra vaccine dose. But if that were to happen, we look to those who are 65+ in the demographic in our community, pharmacists who haven't been vaccinated. By the state standards, we are allowed to vaccinate our pharmacists first and then if there are any associates in our demographic who are 65+, we're allowed to vaccinate those as well," Sautter said.
Vaccination has to happen fast.
"Once a vaccine vial is punctured it's only a six hour window in which you can use it. So as you go through that vial, you have to look to see whether you can use that allocation quickly," Sautter said.
Sautter says Tops has not had to discard any vaccine.