‘It’s convenient’: Rural pharmacies get vaccine doses to distribute

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.C. — The White House recently announced the weekly vaccine supply to states is increasing by 1 million doses, which is 14.5 million doses split between the states starting next week.

The vaccine is also starting to reach independent pharmacies in the area.

A pharmacy owner in Cabarrus County said they got a supply Tuesday.

Pharmacies, such as Moose Pharmacy in Mount Pleasant, have pushed for the chance to distribute the vaccine and said they can take doses to people who are hard to reach.

Customer Ed Carlson, 77, said he was happy to hear that the pharmacy he goes to will start to vaccinate people this week.

“It’s convenient,” Carlson said. “You know the people you trust them.”

Owner Joe Moose got 100 Moderna doses Tuesday morning.

Moose said state officials did not give any doses to his small, independent pharmacy earlier this month.

Many others like his, in rural areas where there is a high poverty rate and hardly any public transit, did not either.

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“We got some an hour ago this morning, our first shipment of it,” Moose said. “We’re hearing the same is happening to other independent pharmacies across the state.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services secretary said the state wants more pharmacies to get involved.

“I hope to bring on more providers,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, DHHS secretary. “As you know, our issue is supply. We continue to be low on supply.”

Moose said he has contacted high-risk customers to offer them appointments. His pharmacies will also allow people to sign up on the store website.

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Moose’s pharmacy in Mount Pleasant is expecting 100 doses likely Wednesday, and all appointments are already booked.