Local pharmacies take part in the vaccine rollout

Fitchburg Family Pharmacy begins administering second doses.
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 8:35 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The vaccine rollout in Wisconsin that began in December with hospitals is trickling down to dozens of locations across the state that are now vaccination sites, including family pharmacies like the Fitchburg Family Pharmacy.

The pharmacy started distributing COVID-19 vaccinations back on January 12th, starting to give out secondary doses last week. So far, Fitchburg Family Pharmacy is up to 700 vaccinations, including 200 second doses.

The rollout for owner and pharmacist Thad Schumacher requires a lot of learning on the go for both him and his staff, as they find the most efficient way to vaccinate as many people as possible each day.

“We have learned things along the way,” said Schumacher. “Like using a combination of two different syringes, one type to use for the start of a new bottle of the vaccine, a second to finish the bottle. Using both allows us to maximize the doses in each bottle.”

The pharmacy also uses a precise schedule to get the curbside vaccination process organized, so they know who is coming for the vaccine. This keeps them informed ahead of time on what they need to check for during the screening process if they are a frontline worker, first responder, or in the age range, all of which will determine if they meet the current qualifications to receive a vaccine.

The pharmacy added its pre-vaccine informational paperwork to its website, intending to speed up the process before the shot and get as many people vaccinated as possible.

All of it requires a lot of additional work: The vaccine must be prepared and stored properly, all within days of thawing the Pfizer vaccine (the only vaccine the pharmacy has received). Paperwork must be completed, and all the new patients require additional paperwork. Scheduling of appointments and secondary appointments is all done quickly at the beginning of the week since the pharmacy does not know ahead of time exactly how many doses will be sent.

It takes a tremendous effort from the staff, University of Wisconsin students sent from the School of Pharmacy, and even volunteers from the community.

“I can’t say enough about our staff, the students working so hard with us, and the community support we’ve received,” said Schumacher.

He added that the pharmacy’s goal, starting next week, is to vaccinate 300 patients per week. The hope is 150 new patients and 150 secondary doses.

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