RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - For the last four weeks, Richmond Hill Pharmacy has been giving the COVID-19 vaccine. Staff say the most challenging part of it all is the fact that they aren’t getting the number of doses they’re requesting. They want answers about the allocation process.
Richmond Hill Pharmacy staff say they have the capability to vaccinate between 200 and 300 people per week. However, like many places, they’re not getting the doses they’re requesting, so scheduling first and second doses has been a challenge.
“We are trying to be understanding with it, but we have requested close to 2,500 doses of the vaccine and as of right now we’ve received 300,” said pharmacist John Mark Carter.
Carter says they’re not alone in this. In fact, on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website, there’s a list showing the number of doses the providers have requested and how many they’ve gotten. Many of them are getting much less.
“We have the staff to vaccinate five days a week here. If we had the supply‚ we’d be able to get that done,” said Carter.
This presents various challenges when it comes to scheduling. Carter says during our interview the pharmacy received about four calls from people trying to schedule their second dose, but they don’t have the supply to give them those shots right now.
“Since we don’t have the vaccines in hand and in store at the time we’re making appointments, it can get a little frustrating,” he said.
Carter says they were supposed to start giving people their second doses tomorrow.
“There are other pharmacies who’ve requested half the amount we have, but have received double the amount we have. So, really, we’re just curious about the allocation process,” he said.
According to the Coastal Health District, allocations are based on several factors. These include, “population, current federal allocations to the state, overall vaccine supply, how much vaccine a provider is using/has administered, or inventory they still have on hand. Once the allocations are determined by DPH’s immunization program the orders are distributed.”
“We’ve been having to explain to them that as soon as we receive the doses we’ll be setting up that appointment for them and get them taken care of,” said Carter.
The Coastal Health District also says vaccine production is expected to increase by mid-April, which will make more vaccines available to give to more eligible populations.
So far, the pharmacy hasn’t had to cancel any first dose appointments but they have had to postpone second dose appointments because they don’t have vaccine doses available. They say people do have a two week grace period from the time their second dose is due, so that at least gives them some peace of mind.