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Health, Science and Technology

Local pharmacies say more people are getting booster and vaccine shots amid increased demand

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Since news of the Omicron variant broke out last week, local pharmacists say they’ve seen a jump in demand for people getting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots.

A small, family-owned pharmacy in Arroyo Grande has been seeing non-stop foot traffic of people seeking the vaccine and booster shots.

Bhargav Shaw, pharmacist at Best Care Pharmacy, said concerns over the Pmicron variant, expansion of who can get the boosters and the upcoming holidays are likely fueling the demand.

“I range in anywhere from 40 to 60 a day now, and we were hovering around I would say the mid 20’s prior to this," Shaw said. "Now, it’s like almost doubled.”

Shaw said some patients coming into his pharmacy say he’s the only pharmacy nearby with available appointments.

“We have had people tell us that in our area, in a twenty-mile radius, that were the only one taking walk-ins," Shaw said. "I was surprised when I first learned that.”

Shaw said he’s used to running a busy pharmacy prior to COVID-19, but ever since the vaccines became available, it’s been quite the workload.

“There are days, Tuesday or Wednesday I did 60 plus (vaccines)," Shaw said. "But whatever we can do for the community to deal with this pandemic.”

It’s a familiar story for a local pharmacist and owner of Stars Pharmacy in Guadalupe, who prefers to go by his first name Sammie.

In a town of just over 7,000, Sammie said he used to only see a couple of local patients a day seeking the vaccine, but that changed this week.

“We do have high demand," Sammie said. "As you know, we are a small pharmacy and small town here in Guadalupe, we have an average of ten people every day now.”

Sammie said lately, he’s seen people from outside Guadalupe come in for a shot since some of the larger pharmacies have a longer wait time. He encourages anyone to walk into his pharmacy.

“People can come to the pharmacy without an appointment," Sammie said. "The vaccine is available for everybody, who has insurance or no insurance. It’s fully free of charge.”

To find a pharmacy near you or to book an appointment, go to vaccines.gov.

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