Columbia Pharmacy: Reaching Beyond Their Community

From Left to Right: Former Dana Outten, Melanie Cahoon, Kirstin Bradley, Neal O’Neal

From Left to Right: Dana Outten, Melanie Cahoon, Kirstin Bradley, Neal O’Neal

When Columbia Pharmacy learned that Vaccine Ambassadors was offering a pharmacy-based program to bring vaccines to children and families living in parts of the world without this basic healthcare service they didn’t hesitate to sign up. This year will be the 3rd annual Protect Someone Else When You Protect Yourself flu season campaign.

Pharmacist Kirstin Bradley of Columbia Pharmacy shares with us the motivation behind participating in the charitable giving program and what the experience was like for her and her pharmacy.

VA: What was it about this particular program that made you want to become a Vaccine Ambassador?

KB: Columbia Pharmacy recognizes the serious need for immunizations both locally and internationally. We wanted to do our part to help contribute by bringing awareness to the problem and providing immunizations to those less fortunate. Additionally, Vaccine Ambassadors provides a unique advertising opportunity. Some larger chains have taken advantage of similar programs, so it is time for local independent pharmacies to do the same.

VA: For those who have not participate before, can you share what was the experience like?

KB: Being a Vaccine Ambassador has been a wonderful experience. It was so easy to participate, yet makes such a huge difference in the lives of others.

VA: Do you think this added value to your store, and if so how?

KB: Vaccine Ambassadors added value to Columbia Pharmacy by giving us a sense of pride by helping others, increased advertising, and increased immunizations given.

VA: Did you have more conversations around vaccines because of it?

KB: Vaccine Ambassadors helped to increase our conversations about vaccines. The conversations consisted of bringing awareness to the importance of vaccines in general, specific immunization questions, and conversations about the consequences of not being vaccinated. Additionally, Vaccine Ambassadors increased the amount of vaccines given.

VA: What was the experience like for the customer/patient?

KB: The Vaccine Ambassadors experience seemed to be positive for the customer/patient. We set up a change jar at the register to collect money and we utilized the Vaccine Ambassadors bar code. If the patient was visiting Columbia Pharmacy for vaccine services, the pharmacist talked personally to the patient about the importance of immunizations and how a small donation could make such a huge difference in a child’s life.

VA: What would you tell other pharmacy who might be thinking about joining?

KB: To Pharmacies who may be considering becoming a Vaccine Ambassador it is strongly encouraged as every part of the way was an easy and positive experience.

VA: Anything else you might want to add?

KB: Every little bit counts. As an extra bonus, Columbia Pharmacy donated $1 for each vaccine given between September 1 and November 30.

Vaccine Ambassadors is grateful for the support that Mutual drug and their member pharmacies. Pharmacist play a pivot role in the health of their local community, by participating in this simple program they are extending their reach across borders to protect some of the most vulnerable against many deadly diseases. It is not surprising that they have so readily joined us in this effort as they clearly understand the value of vaccines.

About Kirstin Bradley:

Kirstin Bradley is a native of Cary, NC. She received her BS in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University in 2005, followed by her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. She currently lives on Lakes Phelps in Creswell, NC. In her free time Kirstin enjoys rehabilitating rescue animals and finding them permanent homes.

About Columbia Pharmacy:

Columbia Pharmacy is a hometown pharmacy providing quality health care to an underserved population for over 60 years. Columbia Pharmacy is owned by Neal O’Neal who also owns O’Neals Drug Store in Belhaven, O’Neals Drug Store in Chocowinity, and Costwise Pharmacy in Williamston. We have recently expanded our pharmacy services to include medication therapy management, medication synchronization and immunizations. We chose to participate in Vaccine Ambassadors because we see the global need for childhood immunizations and want to give back in any way possible. At Columbia Pharmacy, we want to be the change needed in the world by expanding access to health care.

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