coronavirus illinois

Pharmacists Juggle Additional Tasks, Including COVID Tests and Vaccinations, Amid Pandemic

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Pharmacists always have played a key role in safeguarding the health of communities, but with pharmacies now filling prescriptions, testing for COVID and scheduling vaccinations, many are asking for a helping hand to keep everyone safe.

The additional strain on pharmacies is being felt by many, including Alex Anderson, who owns Oswald’s Pharmacy in suburban Naperville.

“(We’re) making sure that our pharmacy can take care of our patients the way we need to, and to get people immunized in our community. That’s what we’re responsible for and excited to do,” he said.

The role of pharmacies in the pandemic is under the microscope this week at a suburban Mariano’s location, after several customers who were scheduled to get their second doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine were given the Pfizer shot instead.

A Mariano’s spokesperson confirmed the wrong doses, and said no adverse effects have been reported. The company apologized to customers for the improper vaccine doses.

The American Pharmacist’s Association says that such instances show the kind of strain that pharmacies are under during the pandemic, and is seeking to advocate for greater resources for pharmacists.

“At the end of the day, what we want to make sure is that patients have the best outcome possible, and if we are seeing pharmacists that have issues around their own well-being and stress around them, we need to make sure that we have enough support to make sure they get the job done correctly,” Sandra Leal, president of the APA, said.

A small number of people scheduled Tuesday to receive a second dose of the Moderna vaccine at Mariano’s in Aurora were given the Pfizer vaccine instead. NBC 5’s Chris Coffey has more details on what happened, and what happens next.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is calling for more breaks for pharmacists and their team members, along with additional staffing.

That call for action is music to the ears of employees, including Oswald’s lab manager Haley Urvanczyk.

“Six months ago we were just doing COVID testing, and we’re still doing those tests, but now we’re giving immunizations as well, and so now I do all of it,” she said. “Everybody is definitely working together a lot more to compensate for me not being able to be in the lab because I’m immunizing now, and so we’ve hired an extra tech and everybody’s picking up hours to help out in the laboratory.”

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