Pharmacists Should Expect a Busy Fall
The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder. Students are going back to school, many of them fully masked. And pharmacists and technicians will likely have a very busy and challenging fall.
Of course, back-to-school season always means that pharmacists are swamped, dealing with an uptick in cases of head lice and sports injuries and helping parents make sure their children receive all required vaccinations.
This year will mean an added layer of pressure, however. Concern about COVID-19 variants has many on edge, and with most students now attending school in person, questions abound as to what the overall impact will be.
On August 2, 2021, the US Department of Education released guidelines for returning to school, with the message that kids need to be in classrooms.1 The guidelines suggest that K-12 schools follow the CDC’s guidance on masking, which recommended “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.”2
Pharmacies, which have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle since the outset, are bracing for what the pandemic’s variants may bring, in part because of individuals who refuse to get vaccinated and wear masks. The delta variant, for instance, is thought to be more contagious and more serious than other versions of the virus.3
Against the backdrop of COVID-19 is the upcoming flu season, which largely did not exist last year. Some experts are expecting a difficult flu season, because immunity may have waned after a minor flu season in 2020.4
Any way you slice it, pharmacy staff members are likely to be extremely busy, and Pharmacy Times® will continue to provide them with the latest news and actionable information in our print publications, on our website, and in our podcasts.
In this back-to-school issue, the Cover Feature provides information on all the CDC’s recommended vaccinations, and the Patient Focus addresses how pharmacists can help children who need to manage taking medications at school. Elsewhere in the issue, we offer coverage of flu vaccination campaigns and provide information on OTC treatments for allergies.
As summer ends, we again salute pharmacists and technicians for their hard work and wish everyone a healthy and safe fall season.
- Return to school roadmap. US Department of Education. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://sites.ed.gov/roadmap/
- Interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. CDC. Updated July 28, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
- Mandavilli A. C.D.C. internal report calls delta variant as contagious as chickenpox. New York Times. July 30, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021. https:// www.nytimes.com/2021/07/30/health/covid-cdc-delta-masks.html
- Ellyat H. Health experts are anxious to prevent a “catastrophic” winter flu season. CNBC. July 7, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://www.cnbc. com/2021/07/07/winter-flu-season-could-be-big-experts-warn.html