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ETSU Pharmacy partners with area pharmacies for mass COVID-19 clinic

JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy partnered with three area community pharmacies to hold a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at First Baptist Church in Greeneville on Saturday, March 6, administering over 500 vaccines.
The independent community pharmacies included Atchley’s Drug Center, Corley’s Pharmacy and Corley’s Pharmacy Solutions, all located in the Greeneville area.
Since December, Gatton College of Pharmacy has volunteered at independent pharmacies, grocery stores, assisted living facilities, hospitals and health departments from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Hillsville, Virginia, administering over 25,000 COVID-19 vaccinations. The college volunteered more than 150 hours at the Greeneville event, bringing the total to more than 1,200 hours for its COVID-19 vaccination events.
Dr. Emily Flores, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice, said this event is both an incredible learning experience as well as service opportunity.
“Our students are getting to work alongside those really impressive pharmacists and their teams while also helping this really important public health piece that pharmacists have come to the center of right now,” said Flores, who is helping to spearhead the college’s vaccination efforts in the community.
Jonathan Brewster (’22), from Kingsport, helped triage patients as they came to the event.
“There are a lot of people who come in who haven’t left their house in a year now and are really excited to get the vaccine and get some semblance of normalcy back, despite everything that’s going on,” said Brewster. “Just getting that vaccine out there and protecting the public has been a really good experience.”
Dr. Jeff Ward, partner at Corley’s Pharmacy and a graduate of Gatton’s inaugural class, said the rural service component was a critical part of this event.
“This is why I went to pharmacy school,” said Ward. “We want to help the people here.”
Dr. Alan Corley, owner of Corley’s Pharmacy and Corley’s Pharmacy Solutions, helped organize the event and praised the role community pharmacies are playing in this pandemic.
“Health care is kind of like government, the closer it is to the people, the better it works and the more effective it is,” said Corley, who has been a major supporter of the college since its founding in 2005. “Local community pharmacies are an important part of that. We get to know our patients, we know their families . . . I think the trust we build up with our patients helps in an event like this. That may be another reason people would rather come to a local pharmacy or to this type of event where local pharmacies are because they know the people there guiding the process.”
Learn more about Gatton College of Pharmacy at etsu.edu/pharmacy.