September 2020

2x4s for Self Preservation

I’m damn tired of COVID. I’ve been stuck at home with my wife for months. I’m surprised she hasn’t bludgeoned me to death in my sleep. (Although I hide all suitable 2X4s for self-preservation.) As bad as it’s been, it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. There is, however, hope on the horizon. If you strip away all the political rhetoric, and examine the science, it looks as if we truly will have an effective vaccine in the near future. The science I’ve been reading (as of now, always subject to change) seems to indicate there will be decent immunity conferred with a couple of doses appropriately spaced. There may be some distribution and storage requirements, maybe a frozen vaccine???. There will be reporting requirements, patient tracking i.e. who got what when and when is the next dose to be given. All of which sounds very daunting. That is, it all sounds very daunting if you’re not already doing it. Which most of us are.

As you think about the daunting task of immunizing an entire population, it’s impossible to imagine it being done without pharmacists. I’ve read reports that state it will take the mobilization of everyone from physicians, to dentists, to veterinarians to cover a population that is basically the world. Now I don’t know about you, but I suspect that most dentists and veterinarians do not have a process in place to provide immunizations to patients in need. We do.

The process, at lease in my mind, is to get our frontline providers immunized and let them go about the process of providing vaccine to the general population without fear of contracting COVID. In order to do that, make sure all of your pharmacy’s ducks are in a row. Double check your PPE supplies. Make sure your protocols and State requirements are met. Keep track of online CDC vaccine administration registration when it becomes available. Go ahead and plan for community outreach and build offsite administration into your protocols. If you haven’t done it, apply for a CLIA waiver. Vaccination and testing may very well go hand in hand. Most importantly, keep track of vaccine progress, keep up to date on vaccine risk/benefit, and be able to convey that to your patients. Your opinions are, after all, sought after, and you are well trusted by your patients.

There is no one with boots on the ground better suited to get the vaccine ball moving than a community pharmacist. Thanks for what you do.

Keep taking care of patients.

Richard Logan, Jr. PharmD

Richard Logan, Jr. PharmD, community pharmacist, community pharmacy advocate, and ESPhA founding member