Vaccine waiting list grows

Floyd’s Family Pharmacy Pharmacist Jim Talley gives Kelly Jester, the pharmacy’s Bedico location pharmacist-in-charge, her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

Floyd’s Family Pharmacy received 100 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the state health department Monday. By Tuesday, the pharmacy had scheduled appointments for all 100 doses and had a waiting list.

Kyle Talley, manager of Floyd’s Family Pharmacy Ponchatoula and Bedico locations, said over 500 people had left voicemails asking about scheduling appointments.

All three phone lines at the pharmacy were ringing off the hook, tying up phones all day, Talley said.

“We’re asking people to be patient during the process, and we also are taking requests to be added to the vaccine waiting list to when we have vaccines available,” Talley said.

Due to call volume, people should email the pharmacy instead of calling and leaving a voicemail. The email will timestamp the individual’s place on the waiting list. Emails should be sent to kyle@floydsfp.com and must include the patient’s name, date of birth and phone number for them to be added to the waiting list. Staff will call individuals on the waiting list, in order, as more doses become available.

“Both Bedico and Ponchatoula locations are fully prepared and are optimistic and hopeful that we will receive more vaccines,” Talley said.

Dona Trosclair Scully said when she called the Ponchatoula pharmacy Tuesday, the waiting list was already up to 1,500 people.

She was added to it and was told she would be called when her name comes up to set an appointment.

Darlene Wegmann said she called all the pharmacies listed in Tangipahoa Parish as having the vaccination and found only the Ponchatoula one was making a waiting list.

“The others seemed unable to do that, saying they do not know when or if they will get more doses,” she said.

Despite the huge number of calls, Talley said the actual distribution of the vaccine is going very smoothly.

“We are giving 20 vaccines a day until we reach the 100,” he said. “As we receive more, we are fully prepared to give more than 20 per day.”

Appointments are set up where pharmacy staff give shots every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Once a patient receives a shot, they must wait in the lobby for 15 minutes to assure no allergic reaction has occurred.

Individuals who receive the first dose of Moderna vaccine have already been allocated their second dose, which will be given 28 days after the first. Pharmacy staff will send a reminder text and email when it is time for the second shot appointment.

“We are glad to help our community in surrounding areas in both Ponchatoula and Bedico areas,” Talley said.

Across the state, 107 pharmacies are administering the vaccine to eligible individuals.

Other local pharmacies distributing a limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents are Albertsons in Hammond, Schilling Pharmacy in Kentwood, Greensburg Family Pharmacy, Springfield Drug Store and John’s Pharmacy in Albany. A complete list of all 107 participating pharmacies is available at ldh.la.gov/coronavirus/.

Eligible people who want a vaccine must contact the pharmacy for an appointment ahead of time and may be put on a waiting list.

Current eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana include: people at least 70 years old, ambulatory and outpatient health care personnel, schools of allied health students, residents and staff, end stage renal disease facility personnel and patients, and home agency patients and personnel. Front line healthcare, nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staff and emergency medical services and fire personnel continue to be eligible to receive the vaccine as the more priority groups are added.

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