It’s always a good day to thank your neighborhood pharmacist

Long before COVID-19, pharmacists throughout Oregon played a crucial role in keeping people healthy. During the pandemic, they have been on the front lines providing useful and accurate information, prescription care and working tirelessly to help reach an 80 percent vaccination rate among Oregon adults.

One could argue that Sandy Le and her husband, Thanh, could have hardly picked a worse time to open a new pharmacy. But the decision had already been made before COVID-19 reared its deadly head. By the time they signed the lease on April 1, 2020, it was a different world.

Caption: Laura Farmer, pharmacy tech and Sandy Le, owner/pharmacist, LECARE Pharmacy
Photo credit: Thanh Le

Sandy expected to open the doors of the Portland-based LECARE Pharmacy that August, but with city and state offices closed, the permitting process took unusually long. They finally opened in February 2021. Since then, it’s been all COVID-19, all the time.

“I have no regrets,” Sandy said. “My husband and I think we are meant to be here to serve during this pandemic. It’s busy. I stay late just to keep up. If I have patients that need their prescriptions, I fill them at night. If someone tests positive for COVID and they qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment, I do that after hours, too.”

Sandy generally gives 50 to 60 vaccinations a day, though her record is 320. And it’s not only at the pharmacy, but in the community where she helps at clinics administering vaccines and tests.  Like pharmacists throughout Oregon and around the country, Sandy and Thanh are on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.

Over half the adults in the U.S. get their vaccines at pharmacies. Not only do pharmacists help keep people healthy, but they also provide information, answer questions and counsel people so they make safe and informed decisions. Now, they are also providing booster shots, flu vaccinations and possibly vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 soon.  

Fortunately, most of LECARE’s patients recognize her efforts.   

“They appreciate what we do, and it feels really good,” Sandy said. “A lot of people get the help they need. This is the time I feel like my hard work is worth it.”

For more information and to find a vaccine near you, visit Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO).