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READY AND WAITING: Rochester pharmacies anticipate vaccine doses while others work with small supply

Hunt's Silver Lake Drug in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Federal Retail Pharmacy Program hopes to bring more COVID-19 vaccine to communities across the country, including here in the Med City.

While one Rochester pharmacy is still waiting for this to happen, it has a small supply from elsewhere it's making the most of.

"We've had vaccine for probably the last three of four weeks. Most of that was allocated for facilities, group homes and other places that we service," said Hunt's Silver Lake Drug owner Philip Hommerding. "Within the last week or two, we've been getting doses for the 65 and up community."

Some of the community is taking advantage of this after trying other options.

"I've checked with Walmart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, Mayo, that lottery thing," lists Rochester resident Debbie Dukart.

When she received a call from Hunt's Silver Lake Drug for her first dose, she jumped at the chance.

"I left home within a half hour of when they called," Dukart said. "I had to get my husband up first."

It was a seamless process for her.

"Super easy," she said. "Not a lot of people so it felt really safe."

While it's not a bad idea to sign up at Hunt's if you haven't already, the pharmacy owner warns there may be a line already ahead of you.

"Right now we still have about 1,400 people we're still looking for doses for," Hommerding said. "We haven't gotten that many doses in of course. We're getting probably 200 doses a week or so from the county and state."

Hunt's is hoping for more doses in the future.

"We did sign up for the federal allocation program but we haven't received any doses from them yet," Hommerding said.

Offering the vaccine has been extra work for the pharmacy.

"It has been a process," the pharmacy owner said with a laugh. "I think the extra phone call load that we're taking makes it a little harder for us to get to the phone as fast as we normally do."

Yet the extra work has been worth it for those getting closer to getting their lives back to normal.

"Feels good. It makes you optimistic," Dukart said. "I told my grandkids that now for spring break we can go do something."

Three other pharmacies in Rochester are still waiting for their first doses of vaccine.

The Mayo Northwest Family Clinic as well as two Rochester Community Pharmacy locations do not have a date yet of when doses will arrive. However, they continue to take applications for those eligible to sign up.

Alex Tejada

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