MILWAUKEE - As Wisconsin prepares to vaccinate educators, supply at local pharmacies is going up. However, not all pharmacies are offering the vaccine just yet. Some pharmacies have already vaccinated thousands of people, while others have yet to start vaccinating.
Mary Zvolensky of Franklin won’t be looking back on the shot she didn’t take. She got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Hayat Pharmacy walk-up event.
"It's a very good feeling," said Zvolensky. "I wasn't having any luck with Aurora or Ascension."
Hayat Pharmacy is leading the way among locally-owned pharmacies. So far, it has vaccinated upwards of 4,000 people, and upwards of 800 people in a single day.
"We're actually prepared staffing-wise and space-wise to vaccinate a thousand people per day," said Hashim Zaibak, owner of Hayat Pharmacy.
Zaibak says there’s so much demand for vaccine, his pharmacy has requested 5,000 doses a week. Last week, they received 1,800 from the state.
"But, what I've been noticing is that the number they're allowing us to get every week is getting better and better," said Zaibak.
Several retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS are partnered with the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for supply. CVS has yet to activate its vaccination program in Wisconsin. Walmart and Sam’s Club started vaccinating in Wisconsin on February 18th at 9 stores. Three of those stores are in southeast Wisconsin, in Sheboygan, Waukesha and Lake Geneva.
Walgreens began administering a limited number in stores on February 12th. Last week, the state announced that Walgreens’ supply was expanding.
"Walgreens will receive 35,350 doses of vaccine, which is double the amount they received the week before." said Julie Willems Van Dijk, DHS Deputy Secretary, at a press briefing.
As supplies increase, pharmacies are well-positioned to become convenient sites for vaccination.
"Pharmacies are close to where people live, pharmacies have extended hours," said Zaibak.
Zvolensky was on a waiting list at Walgreens when she discovered the walk-in vaccination opportunity at Hayat.
"When I saw this, I decided we should get it so we could travel," said Zvolensky. "I wouldn’t know when I’d get it otherwise."
Vaccine availability remains fluid. Several retail pharmacies ask you to pre-register online and will notify you when supply becomes available.