Vaccine in short supply; quick test available
In the past six weeks, Drug World in Cold Spring has administered 637 first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and 215 second doses but it has received no new first doses in three weeks, according to owner Heidi Snyder.
The independent pharmacy plans to give 400 people their second doses today (Feb. 26) at the North Highlands Fire House in Philipstown and on Wednesday (March 3) at the Chestnut Ridge senior apartments in Cold Spring. New York State currently only allows pharmacies to vaccinate people who are 65 or older.
Snyder said she recently applied for 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will consider asking for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine once it is available. “We get whatever the state decides to give us,” Snyder said.
She said those who are able to book appointments via drugworld.com are placed in a schedule program similar to the state system. “About a half-hour before our scheduler goes live on our website, we announce it on Facebook,” she said. The appointment slots typically fill within 10 minutes, she said.
Besides herself, the only person who has access to the scheduler is her son, Mark, who is the chief operating officer, and no one is added by request, she said. There is a waiting list that has about 130 names, however, and if doses remain at the end of a clinic because of cancellations or because “we were able to squeeze an extra vaccination out of a batch,” she makes a call.
But you’d better be close. Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can only be kept at room temperature for a short time, “you have to come immediately,” she said. “You have to be within about a 10-minute drive. If I draw a dose at 2 p.m., I have to use it by 8 p.m. I don’t want to waste that extra dose; I want to get it into an arm.”
Getting added to the waiting list requires a visit to Drug World. “If someone can’t get to the store to be put on the list, they won’t likely be able get there for a vaccination, either,” Snyder explained. The waiting list is not available online.
She noted that Drug World also began selling the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 test this week.
After buying the $65 kit, a customer applies a nose swab while sitting in his or her car. The swab is returned to the store and “within an hour you receive your results via text,” Snyder explained. Tests can be booked at drugworld.com on a smartphone by clicking on “COVID-19 Services” and then “Antigen Test.”
To clarify: Neither the county nor the towns have any role in how pharmacies operate. I do find it disturbing that a candidate for sheriff and Vinny Tamagna, a paid county employee, have inserted themselves into this process. It appears that in an election year, no tactics are too low. I do have to wonder why Mr. Tamagna is free to wander around at vaccine sites when he has no official capacity.
Shea is the Philipstown supervisor.