ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — "The unvaccinated people are the ones suffering right now and we must reach them now," said Rebecca Mawuenyega, the Lead Pharmacist at Dellwood Pharmacy near West Florissant and Chambers Road in Dellwood.
For the past two months, Mawuenyega and her small team have been on a big, life-saving mission: get more people in north St. Louis County vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Well, people are getting sicker and it's very, very clear that now we're in a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Mawuenyega.
Since March, the pharmacy has administered vaccines to nearly 5,000 people. Mawuenyega says initially they had high numbers.
"We had people calling all the time. We had long lines out the door," she said.
However, by mid-April, fewer people rolled up their sleeves.
"I think people still think there's not enough research, in their opinion, to take it. They still think it's experimental and I'm still hearing that a lot," said the concerned pharmacist.
Now, that COVID cases keep climbing and the delta variant keeps spreading in the St. Louis area, the pharmacist is now on the go.
"I will go anywhere. We will go when we are invited by the pastors, the barbershop owners, all community leaders. Once they contact us, they then talk to their members, their customers or their residents and help calm their fears and concerns about the vaccines, which makes our jobs easier," Mawuenyega said.
In addition to still welcoming walk-ins, she and her team of employees and volunteers trek around town, vaccinating as many people as they can.
They've gone to a Juneteenth Celebration in Pine Lawn, a karaoke festival in Florissant and even to a school district event in Jennings.
"I can comfortably say the numbers have gone up by at least 50% from where they were in June. They're going slowly, but at least the trend is positive," said the north county pharmacist.
According to the Health Department, currently, only 36% of the people living in Dellwood are fully vaccinated.
"I have to get over my fear," said nearby Ferguson resident Angela Dean, 55.
In January, Dean battled COVID-19.
Her 78-year-old mom also contracted the virus and later died of heart-related issues.
Six months later, Dean has conquered her "fear" and is finally getting a vaccine.
"I had hoped to do it today, but I couldn't due to medical reasons. If I can get my doctor to approve it tomorrow, then I'll be back," Dean said.
"I think it's the best anyone can do. You're not doing it for yourself. You're doing it for your kids. You're doing it for society at large. I hope and pray we get more people vaccinated," Mawuenyega said.
Dellwood Pharmacy is offering all three vaccines and COVID tests for free.
On Saturday, they will be at Ferguson Farmer's Market from 8:30 a.m. until noon. The market is located at 501 S. Florissant Road.
No appointment is necessary.
If you'd like to invite the pharmacy team to a future event, you're asked to call (314) 868-3333.