For 43 years Sedgwick Pharmacy on Sedgwick Avenue has been an integral part of the community. During COVID-19 it was not only deemed essential, but is now relied on for administering vaccines.
Owner Adam Agovino said they vaccinate 300 patients a week and by the end of March predicts the staff will have given 3,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
Agovino, 40, who began working there when he was 13, told the Bronx Times there hasn’t been a more challenging time than this past year.
“We’re in the Bronx, it’s low-income, it’s diverse,” he said. “Those are the people who might be last in line to get shots.”
Agovino started out as a stock boy and delivery driver and idolized how his dad Michael who started the pharmacy was beloved in the community. He soon followed in his dad’s footsteps and went to pharmacy school.
During the past year of the pandemic Agovino noticed how much people need the pharmacy. He explained that people often see their pharmacist more than their doctor.
“They trust us with their health,” he stressed. “You have to give people customer service that they aren’t going to get at other places. We’re the first health care for most people.”
Throughout COVID-19 he and his staff have encouraged people to stay home and if they need medicine it can be delivered.
Since pharmacies were allowed to administer vaccines two months ago, it has been nonstop busy, he said. They do about 50 to 100 shots a day and the phone is ringing off the hook with questions from residents.
“It’s difficult because you need some kind of way to stay organized,” he said
He and his staff have given people flu shots for years, but never at this volume as they are for COVID-19. Agovino noted he could use about 10 more people to help with the process.
Additionally, he stressed that insurance is not required and as long as the person is qualified under the NY State guidelines and they schedule an appointment a vaccine will be given.
“It’s (vaccinating) probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a pharmacist,” he stressed. “We’re slowly getting everybody vaccinated.”