Independent pharmacy owner frustrated with COVID-19 vaccine distribution


TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB)– Some drug store chains started signing up people for the coronavirus vaccine today, after getting a special shipment. Some pharmacy owners say the vaccine hasn’t been distributed fairly.

Several large retail pharmacies got a shipment of the vaccine from the federal government this week, and CVS is one of them.

But some local independent pharmacies still haven’t gotten any at all.

The folks at the Brighton Eggert Pharmacy have been fielding thousands of phone calls from customers for weeks, they all want the vaccine.

“We stopped counting, we received over 9,000 calls for a product that we can’t provide,” Don Arthur owner Brighton Eggert Pharmacy said.

He’s not alone. Several other independent pharmacies in the area haven’t received a vial of the vaccine since the start of the distribution.

“It’s extremely frustrating, we were patient, but when it was announced that New York State would start distributing vaccines to their pharmacy network, which we are part of, that we would start seeing small allocations. It’s been five weeks now.”

Don Arthur, Owner, Brighton Eggert Pharmacy

Meanwhile, larger pharmacies seem to be stocking up on the vaccine. Pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Walmart were all in line to get a special shipment of the vaccine from the federal retail pharmacy program.

So far there are only a few CVS locations in the area where you can register for the vaccine. Those include Hamburg, Lewiston, Batavia, Olean and Westfield. At last check, they’re all booked up.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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