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Omro Pharmacy, city team up to run local vaccine clinic

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:11 PM CST
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OMRO, Wis. (WBAY) - The Omro Pharmacy has been flooded with calls lately, with people looking to get into the new COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

The clinic, which started a couple weeks ago in Omro, is open one or two days a week depending on how much supply of the vaccine the state sends in.

“We’ve got it all arranged really nice with COVID screens and tables where people can get all their paperwork done when they first come in, it’s by reservation only so their names are checked at the door, temperatures are taken,” said Ken Bressers, owner of the pharmacy.

But Bressers and his staff aren’t the only ones involved in the process. The vaccine clinic is the result of a community effort spearheaded by the city.

“I sent Ken an email over at Omro pharmacy and I said ‘Hey what can the city do?’ and I offered up everything from our election furniture to this building, to copies, to city personnel, to ‘What can we do transportation-wise?’ you know, ‘What is it you need?’ and he said ‘All of the above,’” said City Administrator Linda Kutchenriter.

The city owns the old Dollar Store building which is now being used for the clinic, giving enough space to allow a distanced process.

There’s also a waiting area where people can spend time after getting the vaccine, to ease fears about having a bad reaction to the vaccine.

“We’ve got EMS personnel there, we’ve got a retired emergency room doctor there, we’ve got nurses, pharmacists, and they wait there 15 minutes and if something were to happen they couldn’t be in a better place,” said Bressers.

There’s also city hall employees helping with paperwork and check-ins. Public Works helped clean and prep the clinic for use.

“It’s been a community effort to get this going and it’s worked out really well,” said Kutchenriter.

Bressers says being a smaller, independent pharmacy has its advantages when it comes to getting volunteers and support.

“We’ve developed good relationships with these physicians and these nurses when they were still practicing, and so a lot of them were customers, patients of ours,” said Bressers. “And as a result those relationships are now helping us out a lot.”

The community has appreciated the efforts being made to bring the vaccine into their smaller community.

“There’s a lot of appreciation for that, I mean we know everybody in town very well. I’ve worked here for over 30 years,” said Kutchenriter. “I know they don’t always want to travel to those places and it’s complicated, finding that information is complicated. So anything we can do to help the older population especially accomplish getting an appointment is a good thing for everybody.”

Kutchenriter sees the process as part of their “City Cares Initiatives”, an effort to help businesses and the community through the pandemic through loans and other efforts.

“We really want to get our businesses back to normal… this is just the next step in trying to get us back to that,” said Kutchenriter.

Bressers believes their vaccine process runs smoothly enough that it could run 500 people through in four to five hours.

But he admits there is one snag.

“We’re like the Lamborghini that’s out of gas because we are beholding to whatever supplies the state is able to get from federal government and what the state has decided to then allocate to us,” said Bressers. “And that’s the part that we cannot control.”

This week Bressers was hoping to get 700 to 1,000 vaccines. The state sent a little over 200.

Bressers puts in a supply request every Monday and is notified the following Sunday how much they will actually get for the week.

“It’s very difficult to schedule. But we can do it. It’s not like it’s impossible,” said Bressers.

He remains optimistic, noting the important this is there are vaccines available to protect against COVID-19.

“We’re ready,” said Bressers. “And when we get to the point where they can send us 1,000, 1,500 doses in a week we’re ready. We’re ready to get them out.”

The Omro Pharmacy is in charge of scheduling for the vaccines and have been accepting Omro and Winnebago Co. residents. Find contact information HERE.

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