Pharmacy Hits a Home Run with COVID-19 Vaccines, Diversification

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A key MLB partnership — and more — results from thinking outside the (batter’s) box

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As independent pharmacies throughout the country began offering COVID-19 vaccines, Clayworth Healthcare Pharmacy in Castro Valley hit a home run by integrating its vaccine services with Major League Baseball (MLB).

“We had a relationship with the Oakland A’s, and we parlayed that into an on-site vaccination clinic at every home game this season,” co-owner Sudhir Reddy said.

Located outside of Oakland, California, in Castro Valley, Clayworth Pharmacy reached thousands of baseball fans throughout the season, many of whom received both shots while attending games at RingCentral Coliseum.

“Many fans would come and get their first dose and then come to another game at the ballpark to get their second dose,” Reddy said.

It’s a great example of how developing relationships in the community can turn into additional opportunities for independent pharmacies to expand their reach, Reddy says.

“We were able to reach a good mixture of people with different ethnic backgrounds and ages,” he said. “It was also a good public relations opportunity for us since we’re just 15 minutes down the road from the ballpark.”

Serving diverse populations

Creating opportunities like offering vaccinations at MLB games is just one of many ways the pharmacy has worked to diversify who it serves.

“Our differentiator is that we’re able to relate to anybody,” co-owner Roger Taylor said. “We go above and beyond in that regard.” Pharmacists and pharmacy students come from various ethnic backgrounds and speak multiple languages.

“We are one of the few culturally diverse pharmacies. We can walk into any community and have someone who fits into that community,” Taylor said. “We often do clinics in areas that have residents who don’t speak English, and that can remove a lot of apprehension in patients.”

He said that the staff’s diversity and their willingness to think outside the box have allowed the pharmacy to penetrate many different markets.

“Sometimes, when you bridge cultures by being part of that culture, it takes away some of the apprehension and the resistance you’re going to get,” Taylor said.

Building a healthier community

Clayworth Pharmacy also partnered with Alameda County to offer vaccination clinics to underserved populations.

“We started a project in conjunction with the county because it couldn’t meet the demand,” Reddy said. “We began offering mobile vaccination clinics that covered four-to-eight-hour windows.”

The pharmacy also partnered with the county for Project Roomkey, an initiative that provided temporary housing for unsheltered residents as part of the initial emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We helped consolidate medications and deliver the medications to individuals staying at hotels temporarily,” Reddy said.

Taylor says this boots-on-the-ground approach has also allowed for additional opportunities.

“Many of the senior facilities that we vaccinated against COVID-19 are now reaching out to us to do mobile flu shot clinics,” he said. “Creating these relationships has built trust and opened the doors for more opportunities.”