Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians Take Center Stage in Fight Against COVID-19
As the pandemic has continued, it has helped shine a light on how important pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians can help impact their communities.
Over the past year, we have seen how COVID-19 has affected our lives and communities around the globe. This virus has required us to adapt to better protect ourselves and others around us.
It has shown how important it is to come together as a community and work safely together to help reach the goals we aim to attain. As the pandemic has continued, it has helped shine a light on how important pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians can help impact their communities.
During the past year, with COVID-19 affecting the way businesses could operate, pharmacies have taken this in stride without having to close down because of the restrictions. Playing such a crucial role for their communities, pharmacies have adapted to allow people to still be able to use the services that they have available.
The pharmacy is an easy-to-access location for those in our communities seeking a medical professional during these times. Many Americans live close to a pharmacy to begin with, in fact roughly 9 out of 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, according to National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) research.
This allows the general public to be able to have medication therapy, disease management services, immunizations, health screenings, and, of course, clinical counseling for their medications. With NACDS research, they also asked how important the pharmacist’s recommendation was when deciding on an OTC medication for the first time. The results showed that 72% of correspondents said that it was important to them, showing how valuable the insight of a pharmacist can be.
Even in busy community or chain pharmacies, there is still a connection between the staff who work there and many of the customers they see on a monthly or even weekly basis. The relationship that is created allows for more trust between the pharmacy and their patients. Many pharmacies have integrated procedures dealing with COVID-19 into their workflow.
These procedures include helping the general public with any questions, COVID-19 testing, and administering vaccines. The demand for the vaccine is so great that it helps highlight how important those who work in a pharmacy can be for helping to administer it.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released guidance that expanded the ability to immunize for pharmacy interns and qualified pharmacy technicians during the public health emergency.1 This expansion allows for even greater access to vaccines as well shows the importance that a community pharmacy can be to the community.
As this pandemic has continued, the pharmacy has been a place for people to turn to get the answers that they need. Pharmacies allow a place for the not only the public, but also other health professionals to be able to obtain information about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccine to treat it.
In this day of age with so much misinformation, it can be difficult for many to navigate the online space to find good information. To try to help minimize misinformation, a place that professionals can go to help guide them in their quest for answers is the CDC resource page and the HHS resource page. Both of these government-run websites keep up-to-date information about the virus to get answers on how to help treat patients.
Places that the general public can go to get easily digestible information are the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic site. It is important to help show people that there are accurate and correct resources that they can use in this time to have their questions answered.
About the Authors
Tyler Dempsey is a PharmD Candidate at Duquesne University’s School of Pharmacy, anticipated to graduate in Spring 2021.
Jonathan Ogurchak, PharmD, CSP, is the CEO and cofounder of STACK, a pharmacy information management platform, and serves as preceptor for a virtual Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential Rotation for specialty pharmacy, during which this article was composed.