A Call to Arms

Shrivers Pharmacy administers COVID-19 vaccines throughout Southeast Ohio

Shrivers Pharmacy opened in 1979 in McConnelsville and since then, it has expanded throughout Southeast Ohio and West Virginia. Shrivers was selected to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Initially, an exclusive group of people, such as healthcare workers and first responders, were given the first dose of the vaccine. Since then, it has been available to various groups of people, following state guidelines.  

Ohio introduced the vaccine in a phased approach and according to the Ohio Department of Health website, Phase 1A includes healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19, residents and staff in nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and assisted living facilities and EMS responders. In late January, Ohio opened Phase 1B to Ohioans 65 or older, K-12 faculty and staff who wish to teach in person and any Ohioan with a qualifying illness or disease.  

For Phase 1B, Shrivers matched the criteria to be a provider and that opportunity was taken. Ben Holter, a pharmacist at Shrivers and co-owner of two locations, expressed how great this opportunity has been for him as well as the other employees. “We met all the requirements, but I think another big thing was that all of our retail pharmacies in Southeastern Ohio are part of this.”, Holter says. “We have two pharmacies in McArthur and McConnelsville, they’re the only pharmacies located in those entire counties, so I think they saw Shriver’s as a good partner in Southeastern Ohio to provide access.”  

Storage Details 

Holter explained the timeline from when the vaccine arrives at a location to the actual inoculation of a patient. The vaccine is shipped overnight to the pharmacy directly from the manufacturer. An initial number of vials are distributed each week, and everything is tracked, including the number of doses administered, how many are left and if there were any wasted. It comes in a temperature-controlled box with an electronic device that shows if the temperature was above or below what it should be. After the device is checked, the doses are moved to a refrigerator or freezer and a temperature log is filled out. Holter purchased a device to track temperature change in the refrigerators/freezers and receives a notification if there has been fluctuation. When the doses are ready to be given, the injection process takes about five minutes. Patients are kept for an extra 15 minutes to ensure there are no harsh side effects. The process is carefully watched and recorded. Holter says that Shrivers is fully committed. “We’ve taken it very seriously. For us, it was an opportunity to prove that we can roll this out efficiently, effectively and provide a great experience for the patients as well. We’ve been working really hard to make sure that we can do a good job”, Holter says. 

Patient Experience 

Sabrina Kotts has faith in the COVID-19 vaccine and took the opportunity to get vaccinated. “I believe in vaccines, I believe that they keep us healthy, so when my age came up, I was happy to jump in and get one,” she says. Kotts received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 11. “It was so well organized and so smooth. I never felt unsafe, there were never too many people in there at any one time, and they had everything spaced nicely because it was at the community center in a large room”, Kotts says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.” Since receiving her first dose, Kotts has not had any serious side effects, other than a sore arm from the injection.  

Kotts received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, also through Shrivers. “The Shrivers part of it was just as well organized and just as good as it was before,” she says. Kotts mentions that, just like many others who have received the second dose, she was feeling flu-like symptoms for about 12 hours. However, she did feel better the next day. “Overall, I had a very good experience with both Shrivers and the way they handled everything and the way they had everything organized…I was very, very pleased, they made it easy, and I would do it again”, she says.