U.S. drugstores under pressure from vaccine demand, staff shortage

The surge in customers seeking vaccines and the shortage of staff are putting pressure on drugstores across the United States, leading to worker confusion and temporary pharmacy closures.

Drugstores are usually busy with influenza vaccinations and other vaccines during this time, but now pharmacists are vaccinated with more and more COVID-19 and are testing for coronavirus.

Shot propulsion is expected to intensify as President Joe Biden urges vaccinated Americans to take booster shots to fight the emerging Omicron variants. The White House said Thursday that more than two COVID-19 vaccinations were given at local pharmacies every three times.

And pharmacists are worried that another job may soon be added to the to-do list. If regulators approve antivirals from pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer to treat COVID-19, pharmacists may be able to diagnose the infection and prescribe the drug to the customer.

Teresator, an independent pharmacist whose demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has quadrupled since the summer at stores in Sebastian, Florida, said:

Pharmacists say demand for the COVID-19 vaccine began to pick up in the summer as the delta mutant spread rapidly. The increased eligibility of vaccines, including booster shots and children, has stimulated it ever since.

In addition to its workload and routine prescribing, many drugstores require pharmacists to more commonly counsel on patient health and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Justin Wilson, who owns three independent pharmacies in Oklahoma, says the pharmacies also respond to calls from customers asking questions about vaccines and COVID-19 testing.

“We’re all working harder than before, but we’re doing everything we can to care for people,” Wilson said. He added that he didn’t have to limit. ..

Thor said he was fortunate to be able to hire a pharmacy resident shortly before the arrival of Delta Surge. New employees were supposed to focus primarily on diabetes programs, but were primarily driven by vaccine obligations.

According to Toll, Bay Street Pharmacy is currently vaccinated with about 80 COVID-19 vaccines per day from 20 vaccines before the delta wave.

“God’s timing worked for me,” she said. “Without that additional person here, we wouldn’t have been able to get through.”

Others weren’t so lucky. The CVS Health Store on the northeastern side of Indianapolis closed its pharmacy in the middle of Thursday afternoon due to staffing issues. A taped sign on the metal gate above the closed pharmacy counter also told customers that the pharmacy would start closing for about 30 minutes in the afternoon so that pharmacists could take a lunch break.

Ann Burns, vice president of the American Pharmacists Association, said such temporary closures have declined nationwide throughout the pandemic and have flowed into pockets, but have become even more serious in recent months. Stated.

All pharmacies require a minimum of personnel to operate safely and may need to be temporarily closed if they fall below those levels.

According to Burns, many pharmacies are already relatively thinly staffed towards a pandemic, leaving a wave of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians after the virus struck.

“Individuals who have been working on this since March 2020 have a lot of stress and burnout,” she said.

CVS Health spokesman TJ Crawford said he couldn’t comment on the status of one store. But he said his company “continues to manage labor shortages that are not unique to CVS Health.”

Rival drugstore chain Walgreens has also adjusted pharmacy opening hours in a limited number of stores, “said spokesman Fraser Engerman.

Both companies have adopted it. CVS Health says it has hired 23,000 employees since the push launched in September. About half of them were pharmacy technicians who could deliver the vaccine.

Burns and Tolle are worried about adding more responsibilities, such as the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, as companies scramble to hire and retain staff.

Tolle said it is not yet clear how pharmacists will be reimbursed for the time it takes to diagnose and prescribe. It needs to be clarified, especially if the number of cases surges again and drugstores need to add more workers to help.

“We want to help our community. I don’t know how pharmacies manage it,” she said.

Sheri Brown, a city official in Omaha, Nebraska, was looking for a vaccine booster dose, but two nearby pharmacies had no reservations and the third didn’t have the brand she wanted. She was shot at a county-run clinic on Friday.

“I just wanted to protect myself,” said Brown, who suffered from a two-week cough, headache, and malaise when he was infected with the virus in January, before he was vaccinated. “I think it’s encouraging to see people take this more seriously.”


Grant Schulte from Omaha, Nebraska contributed to this story. Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: https: //


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

U.S. drugstores under pressure from vaccine demand, staff shortage

Source link U.S. drugstores under pressure from vaccine demand, staff shortage

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