May 2021

Phoenix Pharmacy
Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Pharmacy

Phoenix Pharmacy Helps Vaccinate IPC Staff

As vaccine supply increases more independent pharmacies are stepping up to administer shots and helps organizations like IPC vaccinate and protect their staff.

Vittelian Forbes, owner of Phoenix Pharmacy has been vaccinating residents of Maricopa County for several months now. He has vaccinated several IPC staff members in Arizona and is administering about 100 vaccines each week.

“Administering the vaccine is not complicated, it’s pretty easy and fast.” Forbes said. “I have been giving flu vaccines for years.”

As of March 31, Forbes and other pharmacists have been a large part of administering at least one does of the vaccine to nearly 1.2 million residents in Maricopa County, or 1/3 of residents older than 15.

“I think the one thing right now that is pretty bad is just scheduling people … demand is just outrageous.”

“I think the one thing right now that is pretty bad is just scheduling people … demand is just outrageous,” Forbes said.

People are also eager to get the vaccine and have been showing up as much as two hours early. Given the available space in his store, he has asked patients to wait outside until their appointment starts.

Like in most parts of the country, demand for the vaccine is high. Many pharmacies are having to create space in their stores and create new scheduling systems to effectively manage their vaccination efforts.

“I only open up appointments based on the vaccines that I have on hand,” Forbes said.

Some parts of the country have experienced issues with vaccine availability and have even delayed second doses for patients. Though this is not the case in Maricopa County, Forbes is taking measures to ensure he has as many doses as there are people scheduled to receive them.

Forbes is also working with assisted living and nursing homes to deliver the vaccine. The doses he delivers at these locations are not included in the 100 or so he delivers each week at his pharmacy.

Forbes said it would be possible to deliver more, “If I concentrated just on doing vaccines we could do more, but if you have to run the pharmacy and do daily activities, that plays a role as well with how many we can deliver.”

On the whole, the experience has been relatively smooth for Forbes, his application process and the delivery of the vaccines has gone as expected. He did have some recommendations for pharmacists considering getting involved.

“You volunteer to do this job, to vaccinate the general population."

“You volunteer to do this job, to vaccinate the general population,” Forbes said. “Think about what your capabilities are to vaccinate the population because it can be overwhelming. We started low; we did not want to overshoot ourselves in the beginning so we started pretty low to see how it would go.”

This gave him a chance to adjust the workflow of the pharmacy and determine the best way to administer vaccines and continue regular work with patients.

Even during this hectic and strange times Forbes noted that he is grateful for choosing this profession. One of the biggest reasons being is he feels like a resource for his community.

He’s been a pharmacist since 2012 after he decided to make a career change on the tail end of the Great Recession. He got a start in chain pharmacy but quickly moved into independent pharmacy.

He opened Phoenix Pharmacy in 2016 after the pharmacy he was working at was purchased by a chain.