Building on a longtime relationship he has with a local pharmacist, Cary Martin was able to provide an easy way for his drivers and staff to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
For years, the owner of Little Rock Coaches has brought in a pharmacist to administer a flu vaccine clinic as part of a safety seminar. Asking the pharmacist to substitute the flu vaccination for a COVID-19 vaccine required just a phone call.
He recently conducted his first full driver safety meeting in 14 months. The group gathered in a conference room, while staff circulated to the adjoining room for their vaccinations.
“The idea was well-received and much-appreciated,” Martin said. “We had several drivers that we haven’t seen in a long time drive in because they didn’t want to miss the shot. This allowed us to reconnect.”
‘A step forward’
For some drivers, they haven’t been in the office in more than a year — since before the pandemic.
“It gave them a reason to come to a meeting and overcome their fear of being in public,” said Martin. “They were able to get the vaccination and do that. It was a step forward.”
He estimated about 20 people received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at that meeting. They were expected to get their second dose the second week of April — although they had to make an appointment at a pharmacy for that dose.
He worked with Cornerstone Pharmacy, a regional chain.
“This is great for putting your drivers at ease, because they’re fearful of being on the motorcoach with other people who might be ill,” said Martin.
Pay with PPP
Martin pointed out that federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds can even be used to pay drivers to attend the meeting. The shots are paid for by federal grants and insurance, so the pharmacist’s services are covered.
He plans to let customers know that drivers and staff have their vaccinations.
“It is great for marketing and for your customers to know that your drivers are vaccinated and are likely not to be carrying the virus. It is also good for reducing illness and keeping your drivers from being out of quarantine and ill for two weeks when they come into contact,” Martin said.