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‘I’m looking forward to being overwhelmed’ | Oakdale pharmacist eager to see vaccine line expand

Ken Cosner, pharmacist for River Oak Pharmacy, says he has spaces to fill at his vaccine clinic and the state’s timeline for eligibility could be just what he needs.
Credit: River Oak Pharmacy
River Oak Pharmacy administers a COVID-19 vaccine in Oakdale.

OAKDALE, Calif. — Dr. Ken Cosner and River Oak Pharmacy say they had more vaccine patients than they could handle in February. It was a lot of work, but the vaccinations are a positive outcome for someone trying to flip an upside-down world right-side up.

Toward the end of March, Cosner is still keeping busy, doing about 175 vaccinations a day at the pharmacy, but he has a few dozen Moderna vaccines leftover that he’s still trying to get into arms.

“Frankly, I am not operating at capacity. I could use more folks making appointments,” he said. “Like I said, we can do 30 an hour. I’d love to be able to do 210 per day twice a week. We just need to see the patients.”

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that anyone over 50 would be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine by April, and by April 15, anyone over 16 would be eligible.

“Wonderful. That is wonderful news. I can hardly wait… and I’m looking forward to being overwhelmed,” Cosner said.

RELATED: All Californians over 16 years old will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15

Cosner has been a pharmacist for 40 years. He’s seen and done it all in his industry, but the COVID-19 vaccinations resonate with him in a different way, especially after he had his own brush with the deadly virus.

“I was hospitalized for 8 days. Luckily, I did not have to be intubated, but my family was significantly worried about my wellbeing. I survived it,” Cosner said.

After weeks of putting vaccines in arms, he’s heard other people’s experiences as well and about their friends or family that didn’t make it through.

“It kind of drove it home,” Cosner said. “It can hit anybody and if you or your loved one is one of those that it hits hard and you lose them, my goodness. What we can do to fix that to make that stop and make that not happen... I’m glad I’m able to do something about it.”

River Oak Pharmacy’s next vaccine clinics can be found HERE. In contrast to some of Stanislaus County’s walk-in clinics, Cosner is offering appointments for curbside vaccinations both online and over the phone. Spanish-language help is also available if you call the pharmacy.

For his part, Cosner said he’s ready to vaccinate the community and, hopefully, for his grandkids to one day remember him as one of the people who put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can do this. Pharmacists have been doing vaccinations for flu and other things for years, like 20? A long time. We’re here. We’re available. We just need the goods,” he said.

WATCH ALSO: Long haulers share journey after battling COVID-19 | 'It’s like being sick every day of your life'

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