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Pharmacy that survived 1918 Spanish flu pandemic eager to get vaccines for Covid-19


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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — It’s the question on most everyone’s mind: When and where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Much of the attention has been focused on giants like Walgreens and mass vaccination sites, but the little guys are able to help out, perhaps as soon as next week.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us to a century-old suburban pharmacy that hopes to soon help us all get back to the good old days.

Oswald’s Pharmacy ushered in the new year with a grand plan. After months as a COVID-19 testing site, the Naperville store is prepping for the next phase: soon-to-be vaccine distribution area. Staff is clearing out the space where customers will wait after getting the shot.

“It could be a week from today, we just learned,” sixth generation owner Alex Anderson said.

He didn’t expect the vaccine until the spring, but President Joe Biden recently announced expanded access at independent pharmacies starting Feb. 11.

It’s a quick heavy lift, but rolling with the punches is part of the history at Oswald’s Pharmacy. Alex’s father, Bill, is the great grandson of Louis Oswald, who ran the pharmacy during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.

That’s only the middle of Bill Anderson’s family business tree.

“The pharmacy was originally opened in 1875,” he said.

The pharmacy has survived 146 years, with the pictures to prove it, through multiple wars, economic downturns, and the 1918 pandemic.

This isn’t the first time Oswald’s Pharmacy has been a mass vaccination site. Bill’s father was in charge of polio immunizations at the pharmacy in 1964.

“My dad was helping dose it out in these little tiny cups,” said Bill, who was the pharmacy’s fifth generation owner.

Now Bill will watch his son, Alex, make the difference.

“So many of our customers have grown up here. Their parents, grandparents were customers of ours. So there’s a lot of trust,” Alex said.

The hope is that six generations serving the same community will lead to high vaccination rates, ad a quicker return to normal life.

Oswald’s is still waiting on the exact date to get the vaccine.

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Article Topic Follows: Health

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