By Carol Tannenhauser
To say the vaccine rollout on the UWS is meshuga (mixed up) is an understatement. Joseph Pharmacy on West 72nd Street has the vaccine, but lacks state approval to administer it, owner Sherif Eltahawy told WSR. Park West Pharmacy on West 82nd Street has approval, but lacks the vaccine.
Both appear on the state website, released on Tuesday morning, as places to get the shot, and — with the eligibility categories expanded to include all New Yorkers over the age of 65 — both stores have been deluged with phone calls.
“Apparently the state website has been saying we have the vaccine in stock when we don’t,” said Christine Kim, a pharmacist at Park West. “We haven’t heard any word on when we’re going to get them actually. We think it might be next week . Meanwhile, we’ve been getting a lot of phone calls — maybe thousands,” Kim said. The store has six phone lines. “We’re doing our best to keep people informed,” she added — and to keep their sanity. “We’re managing as best as we can.”
“Somebody should go in there and see what they are dealing with today,” wrote a WSR tipster. “I was there for 10 minutes and their phone did not stop ringing….What really is noteworthy is how incredibly nice and patient they were with each caller, explaining the situation to person after person.”
Eltahawy joked that it felt like “millions” of calls at Joseph. He is keeping a list. I put my name on it, as I did at Park West. When I called the latter back to do so — as a customer rather than a reporter — a man with a soft voice and slight accent explained the situation to me, patiently. “I’m so sorry, Miss,” he said, sounding like he meant it. “I know it’s stressful.” I felt myself calming down. This guy was not meshuga, but a real mensch (good person.)
Updated: Joseph “got the standing order from New York City and State on Wednesday morning and will begin calling people on the list and administering the vaccine.”
Park West got the vaccine.