BANGOR – A local pharmacy is in the middle of the COVID-19 battle after deciding early on they wanted to distribute the vaccine.
“We’re seeing hope in sight now with the vaccine, so we’re working around the clock to get it administered to as many arms as we can,” said John Hebert, a clinical pharmacist and owner of Bangor Drug.
Bangor Drug is a pharmacy located on Broadway in Bangor that’s playing a key role in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff members at long-term care facilities.
“When we first heard what the plan was, we knew how our clientele for long-term care, and we felt that we could accomplish something a little bit better, a little bit different,” said Tina Cattan, a clinical pharmacist and long-term care consultant at Bangor Drug. “We really took great strides to make sure that we could offer this to our homes that we service regularly.”
“We started working with the CDC very early on in August filling out the necessary forms. We made a commitment to getting the ultra-cold freezers that were required and all the other documentation and steps and processes,” Hebert said. “We have a lot of facilities that we’re responsible for. We wanted to make sure that they were gonna be taken care of.”
The pharmacy has faced some hurdles along the way.
“The biggest challenge for us is we never know what we’re gonna get for a shipment for the following week,” Hebert said.
“One of the largest challenges is knowing exactly how much of vaccine you’re gonna need because when you show up at a clinic, some people will have changed their mind about getting the vaccine,” said Charles Ouellette, a clinical pharmacist and owner of Bangor Drug.
Ouellette said there’s a lot of misinformation about the vaccine online, and anyone who has concerns should contact their pharmacist or look on the Maine CDC’s website.
“It’s not any worse than getting the flu shot, and in fact, I’ve heard that it’s less painful than the flu shot and fewer side effects that we’ve seen so far,” Ouellette said. “People have tolerated it very well.”
Moving forward, they said they plan to continue working with the Maine CDC to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and efficiently as possible.