Your local pharmacy looks to be promising, easier alternative for receiving COVID-19 vaccines

Local pharmacies become another option for those seeking coronavirus vaccinations, with closer, easier sites available.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Vaccine super sites like Dodger Stadium can vaccinate up to 12,000 people a day with proper supply. But recently there have been days when the wait time was five hours or more; or when confusion led to thousands of appointments still available by late afternoon.

But most Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, which is why your best option for a vaccine might be right in your own neighborhood. Aviva pharmacy in Long Beach has been providing up to 150 COVID vaccines a day for the past five weeks.

"Usually once they are here, the whole process takes between 30 minutes to an hour," said Amy Nguyen, Pharm. D., MBA/Aviva Pharmacy.

Aviva and other local pharmacies are part of a collaboration between the federal, state and local governments to encourage people to go local for vaccines. As the program expands, pharmacies like Aviva will be critical for community outreach, making more people comfortable with the vaccine.

"They have a very good understanding of the community which is really helpful because you know sometimes people might not necessarily want to come to a government run clinic and so they go somewhere they can trust like a small pharmacy," said Gabriela M. Hurtado, Medical Countermeasures Coordinator for Long Beach Health and Human Services Department.

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"We do have access to patients every day and we are easier to reach and interact with our patients than the large sites," said Nguyen. "The patient can call and reschedule and work with us and that way we can really intimately care for a patient during the vaccination process."

Beyond the comfort and efficiency of a smaller, neighborhood operation, local pharmacies are more nimble than the super sites.

Each day, a waiting list of community members who want the vaccine is prepared, and if an appointment becomes available, a they call them immediately, thus insuring every daily dose available is used.

"We have had actually zero waste. We have not wasted a single shot since we have given out about 3,000 vaccines," said Nguyen.

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