Philadelphia-area pharmacies meeting demand for new variant-targeted COVID boosters

Health care providers are scheduling appointments now

HORSHAM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Pharmacies and health care providers are now scheduling appointments for the new COVID-19 booster shot. It’s the first COVID-19 vaccine to target the current dominant variants.

“We got Moderna in on Friday and Pfizer in on Tuesday. And it's been nonstop ever since,” said Marc Ost, co-owner of Eric’s Rx Shop in Horsham.

The Moderna booster is for anyone 18 and older. Pfizer is for ages 12 and up.

“For us, it hasn't been a problem, or supply has been adequate. So we've been able to get enough supply that we're able to meet the demand,” Ost said.

Appointments are recommended at Eric’s, but they are not necessary. Kathy from Ardsley got one of those appointments.

“Originally, it was a little difficult getting the very first booster,” she said. “It took no time at all for this one. It's definitely getting easier.”

Also getting the booster at Eric’s was Jen from Upper Dublin.

“It's peace of mind, just to continue with covering myself, should I get the virus, to not become as ill,” she said.

“You know, if you just do your own research, not listen to friends and not listen to certain various news stations, you'll see that getting the vaccine and the boosters will help protect you against getting very sick.”

Skippack Pharmacy owner Mayank Amin, better known as Dr. Mak, says he expects demand to be high these first few days.

“I guess it's the first time since last year that there's been a massive demand," Amin said. “They actually just arrived here this morning, about two hours ago, which we're ecstatic about.”

He said he was a little nervous at first, because the community he serves has high hopes for his pharmacy to provide their families with vaccines.

“Even though there might be some people that have vaccine fatigue from getting a vaccine so often, there's still I would say more than half of the people that I know that have gotten doses here that have expressed interest in receiving this bivalent booster,” Amin said.

The federal government is covering the costs of the booster. The Biden administration says they’ve secured more than 170 million doses, and they expect the vaccine to be available within 5 miles of 90% of the population.