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It's not just Walgreens or CVS; independent pharmacies are also administering COVID-19 vaccine in Hampton Roads

Lawrence Pharmacy in Chesapeake received the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine four weeks ago.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — When it comes to pharmacies administering the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not just Walgreens or CVS. Local stores like Chesapeake’s Lawrence Pharmacy are coming on board to help get more shots in arms.

Owner, Chris Mercer said they got their first doses of the vaccine four weeks ago, and everybody wants one.

“We’ve given 400 [doses] so far," Mercer said. “Right now we have a waiting list of over 2,000 people.” 

Mercer said his team has been inundated with phone calls from the Hampton Roads community, asking when they can come in for their shot. He said they are expecting more doses, but they don’t always know what they’re getting. It’s frustrating.  

“Our first order, we ordered 500 vaccines and we got zero. Our second order, we ordered 500 and we received 200,” Mercer said. “It’s been very hit or miss.” 

That’s a common problem for vaccine administrators across the state.

Mercer said he had to cut off the waiting list for the shot, but as soon as more doses are available, they will give them out.

“As many as we can get in and give, that’s what we’re going to do," Mercer said. “Unfortunately we’ve kind of had to stop taking names because we’re worried if can we service all these people because we don’t know when we’re getting the vaccine.”  

Customer William West signed up to get the shot.  

“It just seems like it makes the most sense with the coronavirus and all that sort of thing. If you have the opportunity to take the vaccine, it would be kind of foolish if you didn’t - just like any other vaccine," West said. "I take all the vaccines that are offered to me. Why not? I might as well play it safe. I like living!”

West said he has no hesitations when it comes to getting vaccinated, or supporting local businesses. 

“CVS, Rite Aid, all those are big chains - and they’re good people too - but I just like to put my money in my community, right here, with the people I know," West said. 

Lawrence Pharmacy has been around since 1966.

Mercer said he and his team will continue to do their part to help combat the virus, and keep the community healthy.

“It’s definitely not just CVS, it’s your independents and as far as I’m concerned, we provide a better service," Mercer said. “We’re here for our customers, we know them by name. They’re not just numbers to us.”