Dr. Neal Smoller, a holistic pharmacist based in Woodstock, is traveling throughout Ulster County to vaccinate senior citizens who, scientists say, are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
He’s dubbed it a "road show," going from churches to community centers with vaccines, on a mission of inoculation.
“I just felt like there were too many people being left out in the current vaccination process. Somebody needed to speak up and do something,” Smoller said.
What You Need To Know
- Neal Smoller is owner and operator of Village Apothecary, a pharmacy in Woodstock
- He's traveling throughout Ulster County, ensuring all elderly residents, especially those at greater risk for COVID complications, can receive a vaccine
- To be added to the vaccination waiting list, visit here
He says the road trip is proving informative, enlightening, and he's even having some fun.
“One of the questions is, 'what is life like after this, can I go to the bar right now,' and yes, I’m going with you,” he said jokingly.
He expects to vaccinate around 1,200 seniors by midweek.
Helen Ennist is a member of the New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, where Dr. Smoller made his first stop.
“He’s doing a lot of good. He’s a good man, a very good man, and we appreciate him very much,” she said.
Ennist just received her second shot of the Moderna vaccine. She's thrilled.
Smoller even provides a little showmanship, ringing a bell in celebration after each vaccination.
Just outside the church, Reverends Modele and Evelyn Clarke are encouraging the public to get vaccinated.
"And because he’s willing to come here in the community, it’s too much of a blessing for us not to take advantage of," Evelyn Clarke said.
In just an hour, Smoller and his team were packing up to head to another church to vaccinate even more people. He said this method is tried, tested, and proven.
"I believe that independent pharmacies are key to addressing the inequities because we’re agile, we’re innovative, we’re willing, we have deep roots in the community," he said.
Smoller also hopes lawmakers in Albany will take notice.
"All they have to do is allocate us a couple hundred doses every week and we’ll go out to our community in Ulster County, top to bottom, and even across the state if I had to, to make sure that these inequities are being addressed," he said.
If you’re 65 and older and live in Ulster County, Smoller is encouraging you to visit the pharmacy's website to be added to a vaccination waiting list.