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Metro Detroit pharmacy continues waiting for federal vaccines

Posted at 5:58 PM, Mar 08, 2021

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — On February 11, the federal government launched the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, making local pharmacies another provider of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Medicine Shoppe is one of the pharmacies in Michigan listed by the CDC as a partner in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. One month in, and the owner here at this location Sterling Heights is still waiting for those vaccines to arrive.

“I just want to do it," said Pharmacist Rawan Khader. "I get phone calls every day.”

Khader owns the only Medicine Shoppe in metro Detroit, at 17 and Ryan in Sterling Heights. A corner of her store is all set up to give out vaccines, as her waitlist keeps growing.

“I'm probably at about 1,000 people, between online and people calling into the store,” Khader said.

Those 1,000 people are still waiting and Khader is too. So far every order she’s placed has been denied.

“7 different orders and they’ve all gotten canceled,” Khader said.

According to the CDC, more than 300,000 doses have been sent to Michigan pharmacies in the program, but the Center added “It's important to note that COVID-19 vaccine supply continues to be limited, and there is not enough for all pharmacy partners to start vaccinating in every state where they have retail locations.”

Khader says she’s being told rural locations are getting first priority until more vaccines become available, so for now she’ll have to wait. But she’s telling her customers not to wait for her, and to get the vaccine wherever they can.

“I encourage people to put their names down anywhere they can put their names down and get it as soon as possible," Khader said. "I'd love to give it to them but even my own neighbors, my friends, they're getting it other places and I'm like 'don't worry about it, just get it.'”

Other larger pharmacies in the program like Meijer are set to administer 45,000 doses in Michigan this week and have done more than 200,000 throughout the Midwest. They have been selected as a pharmacy to also receive vaccines from the State of Michigan.

However, Khader says some of her customers would rather get their shot from a familiar face than in a mass vaccine clinic.

“They just trust me more, they’re used to me, they’re comfortable with me,” Khader said.

As Khader waits, vaccinations continue to ramp up. She’s hoping she can soon do her part in bringing the pandemic to an end.

"The sooner we get people vaccinated the sooner we can get through this pandemic,” Khader said.

Khader put in another order last week and will find out Tuesday whether it’s been accepted.

You can add your name to her list by visiting https://sterlingheights.medicineshoppe.com/coronavirus.