The Valley Apothecary in Ketchum will open up hundreds of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine appointments next week due to an increase in vaccine supply, according to pharmacist Cathy Swink.
The pharmacy has administered about 3,500 vaccine doses since its first vaccine shipment arrived in mid-January, Swink said.
In the Apothecary’s vaccine clinic, patients are checked-in by volunteers, ushered to a seat and given their vaccine by a retired physician or RN. They’re then asked to wait 15 minutes in the hallway, spaced apart, to watch for any adverse reactions.
Recently, clinic staff administered 230 vaccines in a single day, Swink said.
The pharmacy received 1,000 vaccine doses this past week, Swink said: 600 Pfizer-BioNTech doses and 200 Moderna doses from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Immunization Program, then another 200 Moderna doses from the federal government.
The pharmacy requests doses each Wednesday for the following week, but the number of vaccines shipped doesn’t always correlate with the number requested, Swink said. Now that the Apothecary’s average weekly vaccine allocation has increased, members of the public can schedule out further.
“January [supply] was very limited. Some weeks we would only get 100 doses,” she said. “Going from a couple hundred [weekly] doses to 1,000 has greatly helped our efforts to vaccinate the community.”
The Apothecary first began vaccinating residents 75 and older on Jan. 25, gradually opening up to younger age groups. On March 29, the pharmacy began offering the Pfizer vaccine to anyone 16 and up and the Moderna vaccine to anyone 18 and up.
It also began a restaurant-specific vaccination clinic for employees of Bigwood Bread, Michel’s Christiania, Grill at Knob Hill, Wiseguy Pizza Pie and other local establishments.
Swink noted that light participation in southern Idaho—particularly in more populated areas like Twin Falls and Jerome—led many Wood River Valley residents to travel there in March to get their vaccines, including those who were not eligible. As a result, the Apothecary struggled to fill appointments last month, she said.
“It was incredibly difficult policing appointments, and of course also frustrating playing by the rules when other areas were not,” she said. “We are so happy that part is over.”
Though fluctuating weekly vaccine allotments can make planning challenging, Swink said it’s been smooth sailing for the pharmacy now that eligibility has expanded.
“It has been great to see our practitioners stepping up and answering the call for action,” she said. “We could not do this without them.”
Anyone can receive a free vaccine at the Apothecary, regardless of health insurance status or immigration status, by signing up at valleyapothecary.as.me/schedule.php.