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Doctor wants to see more vaccine doses go to smaller, locally-owned pharmacies

After receiving 2,000 doses on Monday, Panama Pharmacy says turnout exceeded expectations

Pharmacy Gets Boost in Vaccine Efforts
Pharmacy Gets Boost in Vaccine Efforts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Panama Pharmacy in Panama Park received 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, and the turnout exceeded expectations on the first day that doses from that batch were administered.

The owner of Panama Pharmacy said 132 people got vaccinated on Monday. When the pharmacy received doses of the Moderna vaccine in January, it was administering about 100 shots a day.

Nabet Gray received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Panama Pharmacy on Monday.

“I feel fine,” Gray said. “I had reservations about it at first, but I’m, like, ‘Hey, I’m at risk, low immune system.’”

Gray said she lives less than 10 minutes away from the pharmacy, but that’s not why she chose to get her shot there. She said she chose Panama Pharmacy because she felt comfortable going there.

“For some reason, I like this location,” she said. “It’s a small, friendly atmosphere.”

Aaron Oliver is a pharmacist at Panama Pharmacy. He’s also the one who’s been vaccinating people -- which he said has been a rewarding experience.

“We believe in giving peace of mind to patients that come in here,” Oliver said. “I’m happy to answer any questions that they may have and, after that, give them the vaccine, seeing the smile on their face, making sure they’re OK. I really enjoy it.”

Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, said getting vaccine doses into smaller pharmacies like Panama Pharmacy is important.

“Underserved communities typically trust their own smaller mom-and-pop pharmacies that people have a connection to,” Joshi said.

Joshi said he wants to see more vaccine doses go to smaller, locally-owned pharmacies.

“When people have a concern about a vaccine, this is a way to make them feel more comfortable,” he said.

WHEN? WHERE? HOW? Getting vaccinated in Northeast Florida

Panama Park, which is privately owned, received its latest batch of vaccine doses on the same day the state expanded vaccine eligibility to Floridians age 50 and older. Turnout at the state and federal sites didn’t seem to really change from the days prior to the age change.

“I’ve been disappointed with the turnout recently,” Joshi said.

Joshi said he contributes the lack of turnout to the age qualification.

“The supply of vaccine has now exceeded demand, so let’s increase the number of people who qualify for the vaccine,” he said.

Oliver said Panama Pharmacy will be receiving 2,000 vaccine doses every week. To sign up for an appointment, visit https://www.panamarx.com/.


About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.