Oklahoma's Independent Pharmacies Play Critical Role In COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Wednesday, February 3rd 2021, 6:00 pm
By: Karl Torp

Starting next week, the federal government is ramping up vaccine distribution to the nation's pharmacies.

That includes big providers like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, but 35 independent pharmacies in Oklahoma will also start receiving the vaccine through a federal program next week.

For months, those pharmacies have been preparing for the roll out.

It has meant new storage capacities, scheduling software and more training for staff.

In some rural Oklahoma communities, the local independent pharmacist can be the closest health care provider for several miles.

The familiar face from the local pharmacy may help those hesitant to get the vaccine feel more comfortable with the process.

“We have that relationship with patients. So anyone who has hesitancy can come to us, they know us and trust us more,” said Sooner Pharmacy’s Brant Alexander.

Sooner Pharmacy in Norman expects about 100 Moderna vaccines each week starting next week, Alexander said.

Approximately 250 of the state's 400 independent pharmacies have signed up to become "pandemic providers" and expect to be able to eventually start receiving the vaccine, whether it’s through federal or state programs.