NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Local pharmacists say they’re eager to help in the fight against the coronavirus, but there’s just one problem; they don’t have the vaccines.

At West Orange Family Pharmacy in West Orange, New Jersey, pharmacist Bhura Patel gets lots of questions about the COVID vaccine.

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“But I can’t help them. Because they keep asking, ‘When are you getting vaccines? When are you getting vaccines?’ You know, I have no answers. I say, ‘Once I get it, I will let you know,'” he told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.


Large national pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have been given doses to dole out, but many independent, local pharmacies have not, even though Patel got most of his staff certified to give the shot.

Patel even spent $3,500 on a freezer and on a refrigerator, both just for the vaccine, but right now, they’re just sitting in storage.

There’s still no word on when that empty freezer will be full.

It’s the same story at Pasteur Pharmacy in Midtown Manhattan.

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Pharmacist Leon Tarasenko got himself and his staff certified to give the shot and freezers are on the way, but still, no vaccine and no timeline.

“Not yet. Like I said, we’re just waiting. We’re still in the dark as far as to when we’re going to receive these vaccines,” Tarasenko said.


Officials with the New York State Department of Health said pharmacies are among the slowest providers of vaccine and right now, the goal is to inoculate people as quickly as possible.

Officials in New York and New Jersey say they will activate more providers once the federal vaccine supply increases.

At the West Orange Family Pharmacy, 50 people are on the wait list to get the vaccine, but guessing how long it will take to get those shots would be a shot in the dark.

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CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team