Brabu Pharmacy on Middle Road has expanded its services and is now offering various immunizations, vaccine shots, and a drive-thru COVID-19 testing. These services come after over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people now understanding how important taking care of one’s health is by using preventive measures as a first line of defense, either by getting immunizations, getting COVID-19 tests for travel requirements, or simply for one’s peace of mind.
According to PharmDr. Brianne Pamparo, they started administering vaccinations in April when Brabu Pharmacy’s pharmacy technicians were given authorization to give vaccines under the Health and Safety Prevention program. Right now, Brabu Pharmacy offers the following vaccines for administration: Shingrix, varicella (chickenpox), tetanus, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps and rubella, pneumonia, influenza and HPV. Their protocol for all vaccines is for ages 13 and up.
“The majority of chickenpox (varicella) vaccines we are doing now are for booster shots,” she said. Also, certain vaccines are routinely administered together like flu, pneumonia, etc.
As for the COVID-19 vaccine, Brabu Pharmacy emphasized that right now this vaccine is only available at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
Pamparo said that for people who already got their COVID-19 vaccine, it is okay to get the other shots as well. “…the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has updated the guidelines so patients can get the COVID vaccine on the same day as other vaccines. …[Before the new guideline] it [used to be] two weeks between vaccines…but now the CDC is recommending they can receive [the COVID-19 vaccines] with other vaccines. …Some people say they get the flu shot and get sick from it, which is not true as they may have picked up something between the two weeks that it takes for the [flu] vaccine to become effective.”
For vaccines mentioned, Brabu Pharmacy accommodates walk-ins from 9am to 12pm only. The period from 12pm to 6pm is for appointments only. “We accept medical insurance like Aetna, Calvo’s Insurance, Blue Cross. …We have a contract with pretty much all the medical providers out there except Medicaid because they require that the patient go to the hospital and get the service from there,” Pamparo said.
“…We keep track of everyone: when they get the first shot and, when they are due for their second shot, we call to remind them to come in,” she added.
Brabu’s COVID-19 testing started yesterday after acquiring the analyzer and kit last week. “We do not offer COVID-19 vaccination shots but COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing and our pharmacy technicians do the testing. …This is not a PCR test but an antigen test to show if you have an active infection or not. …This is for people make sure that they don’t have it or if they need it as a travel requirement,” Pamparo said. “The process just takes 15 minutes and for only $48. Unfortunately, it’s not covered under any insurance. We give it between 9am and 5:30pm and we require an appointment. To make it convenient for people, we also do it while they are in the car. When they arrive, they can just call us and we will go out to do the testing. This process is beneficial, like if they have a chance of testing positive, they are not exposed to others,” Pamparo added.
Brabu owner and pharmacist Ted Parker said that Brabu Pharmacy added these services because this is part of preventive medicine. “Anything that you can do to prevent people from getting sick is our responsibility and because we are here in the community as opposed to being in a hospital or a clinic, most patients find it more accessible here—a lot quicker as you can just get in, get your shot, and you walk out. …When you go to a clinic or hospital, waiting time could be two or three hours to get a flu shot or something like that.”
“This is a general trend in the U.S. mainland and more people are getting their vaccinations in their local pharmacy. The states that have very good rates of COVID-19 vaccination is because most patients went to the local pharmacy and got their COVID-19 vaccination. It’s just a matter of providing that service to the public, improve public health in general and you do that by preventing disease and that’s what vaccinations do,” he added.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Sept. 28, 2021 at 3:52pm to clarify some points.