Wisconsin pharmacy to provide vaccines for people who are homebound

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THIENSVILLE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- If you can't go to the pharmacy, the pharmacy can come to you.

Starting next week, Welltopia Pharmacy in Thiensville will offer mobile vaccine clinics at homes for people who request it. The person has to be 65+ or older or fall into one of the other eligible categories under the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' guidance.

Owner Omar Eliwa sees taking care of the community as a pharmacist's job.

"My mother wanted me to be a pharmacist, and I saw how my mother was taking care of her mother, my grandma. And her last few months, my grandma was bedbound," Eliwa said.

He's thinking about his own family as he prepares to offer a new service next week. He will go into people's homes to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Those people who are bedbound -- they have families. They have friends (who) want to visit them and they do not want to just kind of infect them," Eliwa said.

Welltopia Pharmacy also has a vaccine clinic on its third floor. It administers shots to hundreds of people each week. The pharmacy also has mass vaccination clinics.

Eliwa said he is willing to travel to Ozaukee County, Milwaukee County and possibly other areas depending on the requests. The service costs $50, which covers transportation and other costs. However, he said if someone cannot afford it, they should contact him to work something out.

Anyone who is interested in requesting a vaccine for someone who is homebound from Welltopia Pharmacy should send an email to covid@welltopiarx.com or call (262) 429-9429.

Bob Orech, who created the "Milwaukee & Wisconsin Area Vaccine Hunters and Angels" Facebook page, said he's glad to see more options for finding a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We are definitely in a much better spot than we were the previous week with the availability of vaccines, which is awesome. The challenge still is people having that awareness and really just the patience to navigate all the different resources or websites out there," Orech said.

He said anyone who is still having trouble finding an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine should reach out to their health care system first.

"Reaching out to your actual primary care physician to make sure that your profile is current on what your health conditions might be or what your eligibility may fall from a workforce standpoint -- I think that's the first and foremost because they are supposed to be contacting you," Orech said.

Some group members have also had success finding extra doses by calling pharmacies at the end of the day.

"Just wait your turn obviously because we don't advocate skipping the line, but the line's almost gone," Orech said.

Anyone who needs help finding an appointment can also join his Facebook group.

"You got to be an advocate for yourself. You got to raise your hand to get help or figure out how to get scheduled," he said.

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