Hilton Head pharmacy making big difference in Lowcountry COVID-19 fight

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WSAV) – There are more options for people in the Lowcountry when it comes to getting the vaccine.

One Hilton Head pharmacy is proving you don’t have to be a big business to make a big difference.

Burke’s Pharmacy serves hundreds of people every day for their prescription and medical needs.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and vaccines became available, the Hilton Head spot was first in line among the thousands of locally owned stores in the state to make sure their people were protected.

“Biggest question you are getting from everybody?”
“Can I have it right now,” said David Burke of Burke’s Pharmacy.

The immediate need for vaccines is evident here at Burke’s Pharmacy.

The first independent provider in the entire state is now the place to go for seemingly everyone on Hilton Head Island.

“So we released 500 appointments a week, we had 15,000 hits on our website last week,” said Burke.

The 23 employees and technicians already have to work fast to fill all the needs of patients who come to get their shots.

They’re doing a 100 vaccinations per day.

“My wife and children are here. I live here,” explains Burke. “I don’t want people coughing and sneezing on me. It’s also part of what we do. Right now we are doing a lot of COVID-19 vaccines, but we do pneumonia vaccine, influenza vaccine, shingles vaccines, its a normal part of our business, its just a lot more demand than we are used to.”

David says he’s willing to go home wiped out every day if it means he gets to help people.

“We got our paperwork in early. We were recognized by SC DHEC as a provider and that’s made a tremendous difference for us and the community,”

“I feel we are really making a big difference in mortality which is the most important number,” said Burke.

The pharmacy even is helping the elderly population get online to make an appointment long before they get they even get the shot.

They have a dedicated employee to help navigate VAMS and get into the online system

“The average age on the island is young but the most vulnerable for COVID-19 is the elderly,” said Burke.

For people like Cindy Tuttle, just being able the see a familiar face while getting her vaccine was the key.

“It’s a blessing,” said Cindy Tuttle. “I get my medicine here and it was so easy to go on their website. They said keep trying. I tried like 3 times and Wednesday afternoon I got right in, it was divine.”

After 32 years in business, for Burke’s it is not about divine intervention, it’s just a willingness to work hard for the people in our community. People who just need to remember one thing.

“Patience, relax,” explains Burke. “We will get to you or one of the providers will get to you.”

Burke says the pharmacy will continue giving 500 vaccines each week until the South Carolina Department of Health changes that number.

You can either go through the VAMS system to make your appointment or go directly to the Burke’s Pharmacy website burkespharmacy.com

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