Local Pharmacy Supports, Comforts Those Seeking Vaccines

Image via Charles Fox, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pharmacist Chichi Ilonzo Momah, left, exchanges air hugs with a customer.

The Springfield Pharmacy in the Olde Sproul Shopping Center in Delaware County serves 3,500 patients. It has 22,000 people on its vaccination waiting list, writes Kevin Riordan for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The store has received enough vaccines to cover about 100 patients with two inoculations each.

Pharmacist Chichi Ilonzo Momah, 37, owner of Springfield Pharmacy, said the phones ring off the hook. People are anxious, afraid, and don’t know what to do.

“They want to talk to someone. They need help,” she said.

Momah works 56 hours a week, notifying her most medically fragile customers when a vaccine shipment arrives.

Independent community pharmacies are often a critical source to make sure marginalized people eligible for the vaccine get them. About half of their customers are Medicare or Medicaid patients.

Vaccine hesitancy on the part of underserved communities hasn’t been Momah’s experience.

“They are terrified of being left out, of being forgotten,” she said.

An Inquirer analysis shows 555 independent pharmacies statewide had received 294,850 doses of vaccine — or 11.4 percent — of the 2,591,465 total doses delivered as of last week.

Hospitals, community health providers, and pharmacy chains account for the majority.

Read more in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the role of independent pharmacies in vaccine distribution.