Submitted / The Outlook

Alexander City independent pharmacy Jackson Drugs received 200 COVID-19 vaccines last week and has already booked or administered 100 doses, co-owner and manager Darby Ingram said Wednesday.

The pharmacy pulled names from customers who had registered interest in the vaccine, calling up those who were 75 or above or caregivers to elderly family members.

The other 100 Moderna vaccines have been set aside for the required second doses. Ingram said they'd already ordered more vaccines Wednesday.   

While the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is dissuading pharmacies from setting aside second doses, Ingram said she doesn't trust the state to ship another batch of vaccines on time.

"The state says they'll get them to us; hopefully that's true," she said. "The state is saying not to hold back vaccines — to go ahead and give them. As soon as I see them release that shipment I'll schedule those."

According to CDC data, Alabama still ranks at the bottom of U.S. states for percentage of vaccine doses administered. Gov. Kay Ivey disputed the CDC's figures, saying the federal government had not sent all the doses it promised.

So far, Jackson Drugs has been booking its appointments in groups of 10, the number of doses in each vial that must be used within six hours of puncturing. Ingram said she has a list of back-up customers who are able to get vaccinated at a moment's notice should one appointment be cancelled.

"We did have that happen yesterday where something came up," Ingram said. "(The fill-in) was there in, like, five minutes."

So far, Jackson Drugs is the first independent pharmacy Ingram has heard to receive vaccines in the area. She said they'd asked for the vaccines they received last week back in December.

Right now, Ingram urges customers to remain patient while they wait for more vaccines.

"Be patient, we can only work as fast as the state allows us," she said. "We will get to you as quickly as we can."