This Pharmacist Had Vaccine Doses to Spare. So He Hit the Road.


The pharmacist has started doing pop-up vaccination events at senior affordable housing facilities, possibly illuminating a new way to reach vulnerable groups.

In a city scrambling to vaccinate people against Covid-19 as quickly as possible, Ambar Keluskar faced a problem this month that seemed to defy logic: Mr. Keluskar, a pharmacist in Brooklyn, struggled to find people to take the 200 doses he had on hand.

“They were just sitting in the freezer,” he said.

State rules restricted who could get shots at independent pharmacies like his to certain older residents, and fewer and fewer people seemed to be scheduling appointments. The problem was even more vexing because his pharmacy, Rossi Pharmacy, draws many customers from East New York, a community hit hard by the pandemic and where the vaccination rate lags behind other parts of New York City.

Mr. Keluskar’s pharmacy spent hundreds of dollars on Facebook advertisements to let people know he had available doses. He asked community leaders to spread the word. Then he decided to try a different way to reach people who may otherwise be overlooked: Instead of waiting for them to come to the pharmacy, he would take his doses to them.

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