Our Week as COVID Vaccinators: Jan 25th-Jan30th

As are most these weeks lately, we had a dynamic experience this week.

Vaccines Administered

We had light orders arrive. But, proceeded to make do with what we had.

La Conner

Our La Conner store received a supply from Skagit County. Our team there worked hard vaccinating all day Tuesday.

This site joined Oak Harbor as a state approved Covid-19 vaccination site. Expect more local opportunities soon as direct shipments are forth coming. Stay tuned to email!

Oak Harbor

On Tuesday, we went onsite at a local assisted living facility to vaccinate staff and residents. Their national service failed to show as scheduled, so Island County sent us vaccine to get the job done.

Then a mini adventure.

There wasn’t as many residents available as originally scheduled. So, we had a little excess after. Problem is, after cracking a vial, the Moderna vaccine changes to a 6 hour expiration. Our staff worked hard to do ensure 40 doses didn’t expire and waste. They called people in close proximity to the store since we had an hour complete injections. Whew!

On Wednesday, we moved up appointments, in order, to go thru our small allocation for the week.


Island County Health Department expressed a desire in providing local access for South Whidbey residents — a sentiment we share! ICHD issued us vaccine for offering at our new Clinton location. We quickly and directly notified residents eligible for 1B with South Whidbey addresses. On Friday we stood up a vaccine clinic for the first of three consecutive business days, completing this Tuesday.

Clinton also received approval from the state. Shipments will be allocated directly on South Whidbey in the future.

Technology Developed & Deployed

As our experience grows, so do our adaptations. Delivering vaccine efficiently during this pandemic and its social distancing guidelines presents challenges.

With thousands successfully vaccinated, and many lessons learned, we worked to bring a new level of efficiency.

The bottleneck with our first clinics was at the entry and paperwork verification stations. Directing traffic required much repeating and strain on the vocal cords.

Now, all this is done with a little technology.

We developed a custom integration between our texting platform and internal secure team site (Microsoft Sharepoint).

The new procedure has customers send us a message upon arrival in the parking lot. This message creates an entry on our associates screen, where it preserves order. They can then validate appointments while customers wait in their car. When our associates assess enough spacing, they simply change a status on the page and a text summons patients into the verification line.

Our public phone numbers all accept text messages. So, upon arrival, customers text our keyword ‘AntiCovid’ and their full names to begin the process.

It worked great, and we are ready for bigger numbers as soon as vaccine arrives!

New Website

This post is on our new webpage. The old one finally gave way to traffic demands. We updated the name server entries Friday evening (the servers that tell browsers where to find a website at a particular address). If you had trouble accessing the site Friday, that would be the likely reason. If you are still having trouble, please power cycle your device and/or search google on how to flush dns.

We have combined the Island Drug and La Conner Drug sites into one. Both domain names now resolve to the same site. This will make it easier to keep the information current.

Let us know what you think!

Mass Vaccine Planning

We spent a little time discussing future options to bring ‘mass vaccine clinics’ to residents locally. Key players throughout the country worked on a plan for submission to state DOH showing people locally can pull it off. Basically, send people in county the vaccine, and we will work together to get it in arms efficiently.

We value being part of our incredible teams locally.

Vaccine Supply

How do we put this delicately? Let’s go with not ideal.

Definitely unsurprising with all the news reports. But, we are not being issued sufficient supply to keep up with demand represented by appointments booked.

We will keep adjusting appointments to meet supply, while preserving everyones place in line.

The process

Better yet, processeS.

We have made all our multiple filings to demonstrate demand and doses administered. Plus our inventory reporting. Even the newly added spots to report. For those keeping track, we now have three different places to report data, in addition to our internal pharmacy records.

Despite this, DOH still experiences challenges pulling data. We are actively working with them to ensure they understand how vaccine in our county is moving and being administered.

We will also be focusing our vaccinating efforts as early in the week as possible to ensure all reporting is posted by the time DOH looks to calculate the next weeks allocation.

Where to focus

We have had many discussions with DOH workers responsible for filling orders. They are putting in enormous efforts by all accounts.

The problem (and potential solution) lies with elected leaders. Particularly at the Governor level. DOH is provided allocation percentages. These percentages are woefully inadequate for our local communities.

We see ‘public-private partnerships’ and ‘mass vaccine clinic’ sites getting a lions share of the state allocation. By contrast, pharmacy and hospital percentages are both minimal. DOH staffers are left with trying to give multiple pharmacies across the state 100 or so doses each.

Pharmacies are the best access points for distribution — they are in every community. We are ready to continue vaccinating 500 or more people PER DAY PER LOCATION.

If you want to see these number locally, its time to get active.

Contact the governors office.

Contact any elected leader that represents you — state, county (Island | Skagit), and federal.

Please be direct, but polite.

Our local residents shouldn’t have to continue watching supply allocations be concentrated in locales and with businesses out of area.

Advocate for a more equitable process that focuses on a providers ability to quickly vaccinate. As an example, businesses that have shown the capacity to do hundreds per day, like say your local pharmacy?

Why this matters

Our pharmacists have interacted with multiple seniors during vaccine appointments where it is their first trip out of the house in a full year. We need vaccine here to help people get back to living.

Managing Your Covid Vaccine Appointment

A number of requests and questions presented deal with canceling or changing Covid Vaccine Appointments. Below you will find the tips manage your appointment(s) from your phone or computer independently.

Post Booking

Ok, you selected a time and made an appointment on our booking platform, or found an appoint on our lookup tool— that’s where this story begins.

Two Emails + a calendar entry

The system will send two emails after confirmation, like so:

Depending on your email platform, a calendar entry may also appear (this example from outlook.com):

I can’t find any emails!

Two possibilities here.

  1. It may have gone to a spam/junk or other folder in your email account. First, step is a search using the email address of our booking system account: CovidVaccineBookings@islanddrug.com:

    The same emails from above appear.
    You can also use the same email query to search your calendar:

    And, there is the March 26th entry from our example.
  2. If neither of these locate any results, we experienced a technical issue around the system launch (Jan 9-12). So many bookings occurred, our Microsoft Office 365 service capped outbound confirmation emails. Unfortunately, those aren’t recoverable. Please send us a note with any cancellation requests if neither search tricks in #1 work.

The Magic Link

In each of the emails and calendar entries described above lies a magic link.

This link allows independent management (both modification and cancellation).

Let’s find ‘em…

Magic Link: Emails

Opening the first email example

You will find a Manage Booking Link:

Opening the second email example (with the calendar item attachment, and our logo at the top)

then scrolling to the BOTTOM of the message

you will find a ‘Change your appointment’ link

Magic Link: Calendar Entry

Opening your calendar entry, near the top, you will find a link called Manage Booking. This looks like the first email example just above.

Magic Link: When found and clicked

Thank you for using the Magic Link

With the desire for so many to be vaccinated against Covid-19, our incoming has been voluminous — even that is an understatement.

By using the features of this booking system independently, you allow our team the ability to focus on customers in store and those who need personal assistance by phone, email, or text.

Thank you again for being such superb partners as we work together as a broader community in advancing public health.