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Our local pharmacists are right

Local pharmacists Jeff Packech and Chris Freeman are right: The state had no right to take vaccines away from them.

In doing so, the state took away opportunity for more people to get vaccines.

Once you start something, finish it, darn it.

Jeff and Chris are passionate about wanting to be a part of the solution to this pandemic.

Healthcare is in their blood.

And as they told The Express this past week, they had no idea that the COVID-19 vaccine program would be ripped away from them and their patients.

Freeman owns Mill Hall Pharmacy in Mill Hall.

Packech owns Keller & Munro Pharmacy in downtown Lock Haven.

Both have waiting lists of people wanting — needing — the vaccine.

But without any warning, really, the state Department of Health told them, nope … no more vaccines.

“Small rural pharmacies aren’t getting any vaccines. All across Pennsylvania, the Department of Health (DOH) made a decision to not include us,” Freeman said.

“All we want is 100 doses per week,” Packech told The Express for a front page story last Friday.

“When the first 100 doses were given out, the state told us to take the names of people who called for shots. I took names for the next 100 doses and made appointments for them to get shots. When the vaccine didn’t come, I had to cancel all those appointments. Why did they tell us that if they were not going to deliver. My list had more than 500 names at one point, and many are still on the list,” Packech said.

“They are elderly people and longtime customers who say they want to get their shot from us,” he continued, saying that he even went to the residences of some elderly folks and vaccinated them in their homes because they couldn’t make it to the pharmacy. “I wanted to make sure they got the vaccine. I was glad to do it.”

Talk about personal service.

Local business owners do that … go above and beyond for their customers/patients.

As the pharmacists said, they were dealing with people who do not have computers, thus could not — on their own — register/sign up for vaccines.

They’re also upset on hearing that some who are receiving the vaccines aren’t even the ones designated to get the shots at this time… like those over 65 or with health conditions.

Young healthy people are using computers and getting appointments and shots in the next day or two, as those waiting on lists at the local pharmacies are still waiting, Packech said.

“It’s just not right. I’d just like to know what the state’s doing to try and fix this,” Freeman said.

All of this is worth repeating.

They’ve been contacting local legislators and the state Department of Health expressing their concerns, but to no avail. And they encourage local residents to do the same … to call, write, do whatever they can to let the people in charge know they are not happy with the way the distribution has changed.

We echo all of that.

These and other local pharmacies have filled the gaps for vaccination — especially the elderly who need the most help.

Shame on you, DOH.

Fix it.

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