CARLISLE, Iowa — It's a job Pamela Goode wouldn't trade for the world— being a pharmacist in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it's one that's keeping her really busy.
"I feel super fortunate to be able to give this shot of hope to these people in this community that we’ve served and known for a long time," said Goode.
Goode, a member of the Iowa Pharmacy Association, is the only pharmacist at Medicap Pharmacy in Carlisle. She's the manager of the town's only pharmacy, which means she's been juggling a lot lately.
"On top of a normal workflow and it being cold and flu season, we are navigating new information from our home office, helping navigate and staff clinics, helping maintain the website, and that's on top of trying to actually give vaccines," said Goode. "We've [also] got to bill them for their administration; there's just a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the shots."
On top of that, people are coming from surrounding counties to her pharmacy in Warren County. When vaccines became available in Iowa, community pharmacies in Warren County got access more quickly than pharmacies in Polk County, where hospitals were still getting their hands on doses.
"In the massive rollout that everybody was responsible for, a lot of them came our direction," said Goode.
Goode knows that Iowans are checking pharmacy websites relentlessly to see when appointments are available. She's trying to get the appointments online as soon as she gets notified by the Iowa Department of Public Health she'll have another shipment.
"The window [of vaccine shipment] is usually about 72 hours, and sometimes it comes at the very beginning of that, and sometimes it comes at the very end of that," said Goode. "So if the window is Friday to Wednesday, I don’t want to open appointments until I have it in my hands."
As soon as she gets vaccine doses, she updates the website as well as the phone system, so when patients call, they can find out if they can book an appointment.
"The website has been our saving grace because I can set it to how many people I’m able to vaccinate that day, and we only open it for the number of slots that I have vaccine in my refrigerator," Goode said.
Goode partners with the local library to make sure community members who don't have internet access have a way of finding out about available appointments.
She's made a jar with vinyl words that read, "Hope 2020: History in the making."
In it, she stores empty vials of the vaccine.
"Eventually they have to go away, but for now it’s a happy reminder of what we’re doing is great,' said Goode. "We are so blessed to be positioned where we are. To be able to deliver this vaccine and serve our community and it’s so exciting."