Small neighborhood pharmacies say they are ready for vaccine shipments

Small neighborhood pharmacies say they are ready to be part of the vaccination efforts in a big way.

Several independent pharmacies say they’re ready to vaccinate hundreds of people a week. They just need access to a vaccine.

One mom-and-pop pharmacy in Cape Coral has it. And their vaccine appointments are just a phone call away.

Lori Cucchiara, of Cape Coral, was one of the people who got vaccinated at Apollo Pharmacy, at 447 Cape Coral Pkwy E.

“I gave them a call and they were happy to give me an appointment and I was happy to get an appointment because it’s so hard,” Cucchiara said.

Nancy Gaudin said it’s amazing to get the shot there when it was so hard to get into a Walgreens or CVS.

Apollo Pharmacy got a supply of vaccines from the state. They have enough to administer 70 to 80 shots a day.

People who were lucky enough to receive one said the process could not have been any smoother.

“It was great,” said John Defino, of North Fort Myers. “No waiting. It was nobody in there. We wouldn’t have probably gone otherwise.”

Cucchiara said she wishes more local pharmacies get the vaccine.

TJ Depaola wishes they would too.

His pharmacy, Cypress Pharmacy at 9451 Cypress Lake Drive, was supposed to get a shipment in January. He even started a waitlist.

Four months later, they are still waiting.

“We kind of got pushed off to the side,” said Depaola, pharmacy manager. “It’s difficult with the patients because you know the patients are getting antsy.”

They are antsy to get the shot from a pharmacist they know well.

Depaola said he sends customers to other places looking forward to the day he can deliver the shots himself.

“We’re not limited by being short-staffed like a lot of the chain pharmacies are,” Depaola said. “We have the relationship with a lot of patients on a personal level and with the doctors.”

While Cypress Pharmacy is not one of the lucky shops with the vaccine, Depaola is happy some independent pharmacies have a supply.

“It’s, again, more about getting it out to the patients,” Depaola said.

Apollo Pharmacy has the 2-dose Moderna vaccine and hopes to get single-shot Johnson & Johnson doses soon. Apollo Pharmacy is scheduling appointments by phone for anyone who qualifies.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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