Special delivery: Making the Pfizer vaccine accessible

Local News

WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The Weber-Morgan Health Department is closing its mass vaccine site at Weber State University. However, that doesn’t mean the department is slowing down its efforts to get people vaccinated against COVID-19.

A new delivery system ensures pharmacies in the two counties have all the doses of the Pfizer vaccine they need during the summer.

Every week, Weber-Morgan Health Department Nursing Director Lekelsi Talbot prepares anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred doses of the Pfizer vaccine for delivery.

“Since January, I think we maybe just wasted our first doses last week,” Talbot tells ABC4. “We have been able to find arms to give those vaccines clear up until now.”

Talbot helps make sure no additional doses are wasted. That means putting vials of the vaccine in carry containers that stay between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius in preparation for Weber-Mogan Health Department Emergency Service Director Skyler Pyle to deliver them to pharmacies across the two counties.

“They were able to purchase Moderna before which was a 100-dose minimum order,” explains Pyle. “And now that we’ve moved into the eligibility of 12 and up for Pfizer, a lot more pharmacies are requesting Pfizer, but that is a 1,000-dose minimum order.”

Most pharmacies can’t handle that amount without there being waste, so the health department orders in large quantities and then Pyle spends hours every week delivering the vaccines to pharmacies as needed.

A delivery can be hundreds of doses, or as few as two dozen. This is more time consuming and does not reach as many people as the mass vaccine clinics did during the peak of the pandemic, but Pyle says the department will continue to work hard throughout the summer to get as many people vaccinated as possible as demand continues to slow down.

She adds, “Any vaccine that we can get into an arm is worth it. Even one vaccine to somebody is worth it right now.”

For pharmacies like the one at Harmon’s in Roy, these deliveries are needed. Around May, demand for the vaccine at the pharmacy dropped. Registered pharmacist Heather Palmer says before the dip in demand, they were administering around 40 to 50 doses of the vaccine daily.

However, Palmer says demand is picking back up now that school is out for summer. She says, “We’re seeing more of the 12 and up than we were previously, and we’re probably doing between 30 and 40 shots a day.”

Palmer asks those who may be coming in to get a vaccine to be patient. The staff administers vaccines on top of all their other duties. She says sometime, a person may have to wait 10 minutes before being vaccinated.

When the pharmacy’s inventory runs low, Pyle will make the trip once again.

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