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Yesterday, I found an article about Rite Aid and its vaccine surplus. Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, is having problems getting people in their stores to get a COVID vaccine. Nationwide, Rite Aid gets about 75,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. It's about 200 doses per store. Some places aren't using half of those doses. The company theorizes that it's a mixture of a lack of awareness. You also need to register online to get a COVID vaccine.
In a city like Mt. Pleasant, that's surprising; the company believes online registration is the issue. Mt. Pleasant is a college town, so most people living in the city have access to fast internet. If they don't, they can go to a library or a coffee shop to get free internet. It's easier to gain internet access in a city than in the state's more rural areas.
I wondered if it had to do with the CDC restrictions. As of this article, you have to be in one of these categories.
- 65 and older
- health care worker
- law enforcement officer
- living in a long-term care facility
- childcare worker
- agricultural worker
With Mt. Pleasant being a college town, I can't see many people living there being elgible for the COVID vaccine yet.
I found myself thinking. If Mt. Pleasant is having problems getting people vaccinated, are smaller towns having the same issues?
So I called three Rite Aids in three different towns. I called Gladwin, Beaverton, and Houghton Lake, and I asked each pharmacist about what it's been like for them getting vaccines out to people. I mentioned reading the article about Mt. Pleasant and asked if they had a surplus like them.
Vaccine Distribution in Gladwin
The Gladwin Rite Aid gave me the shortest conversation. The woman I talked to sounded surprised that Mt. Pleasant had a surprlus of vaccines. Gladwin Rite Aid has a five-page waiting list. It's a big farming community with many older residents in it, so I can't say I'm surprised there is a waiting list in this area.
The pharmacist is going through the waiting list to make sure people get their shots before allowing anyone to walk in to get one. As long as you're on the CDC elgibility list, you can make your appointment online or call to get your vaccine.
Vaccine Distribution in Beaverton
The Rite Aid Beaverton pharmacist seemed the happiest to give me any information I asked for when talking about the vaccine. Like Gladwin, they also have a waiting list there, but it isn't as large as the Gladwin Rite Aid.
In Beaverton, Rite Aid does online appointments, phone calls, and walk-ins. They usually go through their supply by the end of the day. Maybe one or two doses go unused.
The pharmacist was ready to schedule me for an appointment as I talked to him, so I had to politely tell him I was too young right now to get the vaccine. I'm also not sure if it affects my ability to donate plasma or not. I'll have to do more research later.
Vaccine Distribution in Houghton Lake
The Houghton Lake Rite Aid threw a curve ball at me. I thought every Rite Aid in the nation was providing vaccines for people. However, Houghton Lake currently isn't providing the Pfizer vaccine. The pharmacist told me that there are other Rite Aids accros the state that aren't participating yet, but she didn't specify which cities are sitting it out.
However, the Houghton Lake Rite Aid will start providing vaccines starting March 8th. Elgibility will expand to people over fifty with health problems and disabilities and their caregivers.
If you're elgible for the COVID vaccine, try Rite Aid
Anyone can go on the Rite Aid website and set up an appointment themselves. You can also call for an appointment or walk in, depending on which Rite Aid store you choose. You don't have to stay in your town if you need to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Hopefully, with the expansion on Monday, Mt. Pleasant will start seeing a boost in people getting vaccinated. As of now, 9.2% of the State of Michigan is vaccinated. 16.2% of the state had at least one dose. When the state expands its elgibility, we'll start seeing a boost of people getting the COVID vaccine.
If you're still looking for a vaccine, and Mt. Pleasant isn't too far for you, try going to Mt. Pleasant Rite Aid. They would love to have you come see them. Make sure you call or go online to set up an appointment with them first.