RIGA - Involving pharmacists in immunization of residents against Covid-19 in a short space of time will be impossible, as the Pharmacists' Society of Latvia President Dace Kikute told LETA.
Involving pharmacists in the vaccination process and adding vaccination to the range of services provided by pharmacies is a complex problem. "The keywords here are trained staffs and full epidemiological safety," commented Kikute.
Pharmacists are not physicians and they are trained to work with products and medications, not humans. While there are several countries where pharmacists administer vaccinations, usually these are third-world countries where physician's services may be unavailable, said Kikute.
"The talk whether pharmacies should provide vaccination services has been going on for a long time," said Kikute. She believes that pharmacies could provide revaccination against tick-borne encephalitis or vaccinate people against flu or other diseases that the person has already been vaccinated against and has developed no adverse reactions. Furthermore, providing vaccinations would hamper pharmacies' routine operations.
According to the Pharmacists Society's estimates, there are just ten pharmacies that could provide Covid-19 vaccination. Although some pharmacies measure customer's blood pressure, most pharmacies have premises that are unsuited for provision of such services - there are not enough sinks, there are no cloakrooms for customers. Finally, pharmacists already have enough work to do, said Kikute.
"I don't see how pharmacists could be involved in the vaccination process in a short space of time," said Kikute, adding that the number of vaccination sites was not as important as the logistics and informing the public about the vaccination campaign.
As reported, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (For Development/For) told a press conference on Wednesday that all healthcare professionals, including gynecologists and pharmacists, would be mobilized for mass vaccination against Covid-19.
The vaccination capacity has been steadily improving, however, once mass vaccination gets under way, all healthcare professionals will have to be mobilized, said Pavluts, emphasizing that Latvia should be able to vaccinate 100,000 people per week by March.
This means that the entire healthcare industry will have to be revamped and, to this end, all those working in healthcare will be mobilized, including, for instance, gynecologists, pharmacy employees, and others, said Pavluts.
Work on the establishment of a special vaccination headquarters is under way at the moment, Pavluts also said.