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

A sign is posted outside the CVS Pharmacy in Indianapolis on Thursday, December 2, 2021. The surge in customers seeking vaccines and the shortage of staff are putting pressure on drugstores across the country. It even led to embarrassed workers and even temporary pharmacy closures. Credit: AP Photo / Tom Murphy

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.

“Currently, the demand for pharmacies is very high,” said independent Teresa Toll. pharmacist A person who saw demand for the COVID-19 vaccine quadrupled since the summer at a store in Sebastian, Florida.

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.

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

Pharmacist Todd Galibian (right) administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Toshiko Sugiyama on the left at a CVS pharmacy branch in Los Angeles on March 1, 2021. The surge in customers seeking vaccines and the shortage of staff are putting pressure on drugstores across the country. It even led to embarrassed workers and even temporary pharmacy closures.Credits: AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

In addition to its workload and routine prescription, many drugstores require pharmacists to provide more general counseling on patient health and chronic illnesses such as diabetes. 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 she was lucky enough to be hired pharmacy I lived just 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.”

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

People wear masks while shopping and waiting online on August 18, 2021 in Walgreens, Wheeling, Illinois. The flood of customers seeking vaccines and the shortage of staff are putting pressure on drugstores across the country. It even led to embarrassed workers and even temporary pharmacy closures. Credits: AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File

Others weren’t so lucky. The CVS Health Store on the northeastern side of Indianapolis closed its pharmacy in mid-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 overcoming labor shortages that are not unique to CVS Health.”

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

Belinda Perez on the left checks in to the store manager Maria Gallardo at the COVID-19 vaccination site in the CVS Pharmacy branch in Los Angeles. The surge in customers seeking vaccines and the shortage of staff are putting pressure on drugstores across the country. It even led to embarrassed workers and even temporary pharmacy closures.Credits: AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

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

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 additional responsibilities such as 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 be able to help our community,” she said. “I don’t know how the pharmacy manages it.”

Sherry Brown, a city official in Omaha, Nebraska, said vaccination It had a booster effect, but two nearby pharmacies didn’t have reservations and the third one didn’t have the brand they 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.”


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Quote: U.S. drugstores under pressure from vaccine demand, staff shortage (December 4, 2021), https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-drugstores-vaccine-demand-staff-shortages.html Obtained December 4, 2021

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

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