ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque small business is getting in on the state’s push for vaccinations. The local pharmacy is one of the first independent pharmacies to become certified to give out doses. Since late December, Vida Pharmacy has given more than 5,000 vaccine doses to New Mexicans, but to get to that point, they prepared for months.
“All of the pharmacies in New Mexico received an email asking if we were interested in becoming providers. It was a rigorous process of becoming a provider. There were several certifications and online trainings that we had to go through,” said Annabel Roberts, one of the owners of Vida Pharmacy.
Much of the pharmacy staff had to become certified to actually put shots in arms. The pharmacy even had to prove their freezer temperature and storage capacity to make sure it would hold their allotted doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“We had a very short learning curve to learn all about the vaccine, store it in our pharmacy, and deploy vaccinators,” said Roberts. “I feel like there were a lot of bumps at the beginning.”
The pharmacy’s owners, Adam and Annabel Roberts say the process to be approved started in October. They found out not much later that they were one of the only independent pharmacies that applied to distribute vaccines.
“We had gotten a notification from the Department of Health that they were accepting applications to become a certified vaccine provider. We decided right away that was a good thing to do because of the nature of our company which is primarily long-term care. We service the most vulnerable,” said Adam Roberts, one of the owners of Vida Pharmacy. “It just feels like we’re helping to end this thing. We’re helping to get our community back on its feet in that pandemic fight and we think of it as our civic duty.”
The pharmacy, which typically serves populations like long-term care facilities, started right away with those vaccinations in December. Since then, they’ve held vaccination clinics everywhere from Taos to Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Santa Rosa. They say while they’ve never had a problem getting their allocated supply, they hope more doses can come in so they can ramp up efforts.
“We’re going as fast as the output allows, as fast as the human capacity allows, and as fast as the vaccine is allowing us,” said Adam. “New Mexico has more capacity than it has vaccine right now and that’s because we’ve done such a great job, so we’re just waiting for more federal allocation and so your number will be called soon.”
Vida Pharmacy says they’ll continue to run Saturday vaccination clinics for phase 1B at facilities like the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The local pharmacy says they’re also working on going to senior centers to help people over 75 who may not have internet access and need to sign up for the vaccine.