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Seniors find success getting COVID-19 vaccine at small, area pharmacies

Sewall's Point Pharmacy became registered in January
Sewell's Point Pharmacy
Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:10:07-05

SEWALL'S POINT, Fla. — Most of the headlines surrounding getting a vaccine involve supermarkets or national drug chains.

However, some people have had success going to a smaller site to get the coveted COVID-19 shot.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | Site helps you track down vaccine locations, availability

This past Christmas just wasn't the same for Fran Masiello of Stuart.

"[It was] very strange. Our grandchildren came, and we exchanged gifts outside in the snow," Masiello said.

So, she wanted to get vaccinated before her next visit with her family.

Masiello got her vaccine not at a supermarket or big drug chain but at the Sewall's Point Pharmacy.

Fran Masiello
Fran Masiello said she was eager to get vaccinated so she could spend time with her family this summer.

Cristal Totterman is the owner and pharmacist. She and her husband just opened the location last fall, and became a registered provider for the vaccine in January.

"The process is a little bit cumbersome, but you request doses from the state, and then it's just a waiting game," Totterman said.

In fact, the Moderna vaccine that she was recently provided did not come directly from the state, but from the Department of Health in Martin County.

Totterman said being an independent pharmacist allows them to be more flexible in support of the community vaccination effort and alleviate patient stress.

"They come here and get the vaccine from their local pharmacist, the person that knows them by name and can really help, and we spend the time to talk with them," Totterman said.

Cristal Totterman of Sewall's Point Pharmacy
Pharmacist Cristal Totterman received COVID-19 vaccine doses from the Department of Health in Martin County for her business.

In this first round, the plan was to vaccinate 220 people. With that vaccination behind them, Totterman can now get more doses in partnership with the county.

"I think partnering with the county is the right way for us to go. We can help alleviate their efforts, taking off that burden of logistics and scheduled patients and coordinating a clinic," Totterman said.

Totterman said they reached out to patients on their waiting list and got others through word of mouth.

Masiello said her neighbor told her about the vaccinations and hopes the summer of 2021 will have a different feel for her.

"That means when we plan to go back up to New Jersey for the summer, I don't have to listen to my daughter saying, 'It's not safe to come,'" Masiello said.