Wisconsin pharmacies prepare for coronavirus vaccine distribution ahead of FDA approval

NOW: Wisconsin pharmacies prepare for coronavirus vaccine distribution ahead of FDA approval

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As work continues on how the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed, pharmacies are getting ready.

The CEO of Hayat Pharmacy believes the process to getting vaccinated will be familiar to some people.

“I think it’s going to be similar to the testing where it’s a drive-thru. They get the shot while they’re in the car, and then they leave," Hayat Pharmacy CEO, Dr. Hashim Zaibak, said.

As they wait for FDA approval, Hayat staff is working ahead.

They are thinking about vaccine storage, mass vaccination clinics, patient enrollment and patient safety.

“Like, for example, for the flu vaccine, there are certain things that we have to make sure if there are allergies to eggs. Similarly, we want to be prepared for the COVID vaccine once we know from the CDC," Dimmy Sokhal, a pharmacist at Hayat, said.

In Madison, UW Health is teaching its staff how to administer the vaccine.

Nursing Education Specialist Terri White said the Pfizer doses have to be mixed together and then put in a syringe.

The Moderna vaccine already comes pre-mixed.

"It's all been about providing the care, and now we actually get to do something that hopefully will bring this to an end," White said.

Dr. Zaibak said his staff is making sure Hayat patients know the facts.

He emphasized that misinformation is a barrier for health care professionals.

“Remember we need to get to the 70% mark in order to beat this pandemic. Without vaccinating 70% of the population we’re not going to be able to beat this pandemic," he said.

CBS 58 also reached out to CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens.

CVS said they’ll be ready to give vaccines to long-term care facilities, which have first priority.

In Wisconsin, they have partnerships with more than 600 facilities. 

"In the current agreement, CVS Health will serve nearly 660 long-term care facilitates throughout Wisconsin as their COVID-19 vaccination partner. Between residents, patients and staff, that approximate combined population consists of close to 40,000 Wisconsinites," Charlie Rice-Minoso, a CVS communications representative wrote in a statement.

He added that once wider distribution is allowed, CVS Health will offer doses at all of their pharmacy locations.

Walgreens told CBS 58 it is collaborating with about 27,000 long-term care facilities across the country that chose the company as their vaccine provider.

In a statement, they wrote:

"Walgreens has the pharmacist expertise, data and reporting infrastructure, cold storage capacity and nationwide footprint required to manage the complexities of administering a COVID-19 vaccine. We will be administering all FDA-approved vaccines, as determined by federal and state local governments." 
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