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COVID In New York: Local Pharmacists Say They Are Receiving Far Too Few Vaccine Doses To Meet Demand

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is frustration at local pharmacies as tight vaccine supplies continue to plague the coronavirus pandemic response in New York.

Dozens of drug store operators told CBS2's Tony Aiello on Thursday they're ready and willing to help, but not able.

At the Prescription Center in Rockland County, the check-in table is unattended and the vaccination chair is vacant, all because the box of vaccine is empty.

MORENew York City Temporarily Closes 15 Vaccine Hubs, Cancels Thousands Of Appointments Due To Shortage

Pharmacist Gary Langstein said he asked state for 1,000 doses and received, "About a hundred doses last week, and it went right out the door as fast as it came in."

Langstein said another 200 came this week, far too few to fill demand from eligible customers over age 65.

"We have enough people on our waiting list to keep us booked for probably two more months," Langstein said.


Dozens of independent pharmacies, including one in Rye, were swamped by callers after the state listed them as vaccination centers.

In recent days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has focused effort and resources on opening large vaccination sites, such as the one at the Westchester County Center.

Interestingly, the state's website currently does not even offer local pharmacies as an option, listing only the large state sites. Most have no appointments available.


Some believe local pharmacies should play a key vaccination role.

"More is better than less. A big one will only create large lines. You have to have it in the local areas where people can get there," Rockland County resident Sally Marvin said.

The Prescription Center and other pharmacies are eligible for a second program with direct shipments from the Centers for Disease Control, but, "It's really a guessing game as to where it's gonna come from, how much, and when," Langstein said.

Across the board, vaccine demand is outstripping supply, with no clear answers when things will improve.

CBS2 Tony Aiello contributed to this report


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