Some mid-Michigan Rite Aid locations have more doses than appointments

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:18 PM EST
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MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) (3/5/2021)--There’s a fading opportunity for people in the northern part of the ABC12 viewing area: one of the state’s largest pharmacy chains -- Rite Aid -- says it has more vaccines than appointments and they’re looking for people to give them to.

“I really want to get these doses used because so many people need them.”

Jessica Batteen’s job puts her on the frontlines of the fight to get as many shots into as many arms as possible. As part of that, the Rite Aid pharmacy leader makes sure the chain’s vaccination effort runs smoothly. So, what appeared to be a significant surplus in doses couldn’t escape her attention.

“Why would you say these appointments aren’t being filled? Is it a lack of interest or is it a lack of awareness?”

“I think it’s a lack of awareness and the fact that a lot of it is online,” she responded during a Friday Zoom conversation.

On the national level, Rite Aid gets around 75-thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine regularly. For many of its clinics, that translates into 200 shots and 200 appointments on offer every day five days a week. In some spots, including Mt. Pleasant, for instance, roughly half of those slots have gone unfilled.

“What’s your reaction to that?”

“It’s kind of sad because there are so many people that still need it,” Batteen related.

It’s no secret there’s been a lot of head scratching when it comes to who to call, where to go and what to do to get that shot ASAP. Health departments, hospitals, clinics—all wracked at one time or another by supply shortages and phone book-sized waitlists. Moral to the story: it pays to shop around.

“The number of patients that have come up to me at the store while I was there and said thank you, thank you for having this,” Batteen said.

The pharmacy leader recently updated the policies at stores under her purview to make it easier for patients without access to the internet to do that over the phone instead.

She encouraged anyone who falls within those CDC guidelines to make an appointment.

“They easily can get an appointment,” she explained. “It’s live scheduling, so anytime someone drops an appointment, someone can take that appointment.”

Again, patients have the ability to do that over the phone or online and with any luck, sit down for a shot in the arm later that same day.

To register for an appointment, click here.

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