Community pharmacies may play a “key clinical role” in delivering COVID-19 vaccines

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New research published in BMJ Open shows that community pharmacies could play a “key clinical role” in the future role of COVID-19 vaccination programs, according to a study led by Aston University in Birmingham, UK, in collaboration with British and international researchers.

The team found that community pharmacists, as a “skilled clinical workforce,” could contribute positively, supporting the community in which they serve, playing a critical role in COVID’s ongoing vaccination campaigns. 19.

Researchers working in the PERISCOPE study found this community it is in a unique place to support people, because the public sees it as a credible and reliable service, which could be key to any future clinical role it could play, especially when it comes to vacant vacancies in communities. “difficult to access”. They therefore call on decision makers to support and support a clearly defined public health role for community pharmacies.

Across the UK, community pharmacies are a key part of primary care. According to the Kings Fund, at the end of March 2019 there were more than 11,500 community pharmacies in England alone. It is considered one of the four pillars of the primary care system, along with general consultation, optical services and dentistry. He has also helped administer vaccines against COVID-19 in areas of the United Kingdom.

The study included partners from the universities of Sheffield, Oxford, Hull and Bradford in the UK, as well as internationally, the University of British Columbia and the University of Tasmania. The group reviewed more than a hundred papers, including peer-reviewed articles, blogs, and websites, on the role of community pharmacy during COVID-19 and other previous pandemics.

Their findings were discussed with more than 30 and members of the public, to ensure that the findings made sense in the real world. Healthcare professionals included pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dispensers, sales assistants, and GPs, along with members of the diverse ethnic background.

The researchers made several recommendations based on the study’s findings. Most significantly, the group found that it was imperative that policy and practice focus on the clinical role of community pharmacies.

Dr. Ian Maidment, a lecturer in clinical pharmacy at the University of Aston and a former community pharmacist leader at PERSICOPE, said:

“We need to use community pharmacy to a much greater extent for vaccination against COVID-19, particularly for promoters against new variants such as the Delta variant (India) .The current model (e.g. large centers ) may not be sustainable in the long term, especially if an annual vaccination against COVID-19 is required.

“Our work has found some key ways to make this happen. The easy access and local convenience of street pharmacies make them an ideal place to vaccinate at-risk populations.”

The study includes guidelines for :

  • Have a clear role for community pharmacies in response to the public health agenda, with this role advocated by decision makers
  • Involve front-line pharmacists in developing vaccination policy and service specifications
  • Provide quick, clear and consistent guidelines with appropriate details and sufficient flexibility to allow community pharmacies to adapt the guidelines to meet the needs of their local population.
  • Provide adequate funding and reimbursement for the delivery and necessary adaptations of any new services that are requested to be offered by community pharmacies. * Provide pharmacy equipment with appropriate systems to fulfill this new function and trust them.

Hadar Zaman, head of pharmacy and medical sciences at Bradford University and a community pharmacist, said:

“Our research has highlighted the important role that community pharmacy has played in overcoming vaccine vaccination, especially in ethnic minority communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID and subsequent mortality.

“What comes out very strongly, especially in areas with high social deprivation, is that community pharmacists have worked very closely with their local communities addressing vaccine safety concerns.

“It is through these strongly rooted relationships in local communities that we will ensure vaccine uptake rates in ethnic minorities and the general population can be further improved. Therefore, the community pharmacy must be considered as a delivery partner. essential if the Government is to achieve national vaccination coverage in the short and long term. “

PERISCOPE sought the best evidence worldwide and the team included international collaborators. Therefore, the findings are of international relevance.

Maura MacPhee, a professor of nursing, University of British Columbia and a member of the research team, said: “Our findings and review recommendations for , and pharmacy users are adaptable and relevant internationally, including my country, Canada, where community pharmacy has an important role to play in COVID-19 vaccination programs. ”

Juanita Breen, also a member of the PERISCOPE team and associate professor of dementia studies at the Wicking Dementia Center, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Tasmania University, added: “This study demonstrates how pharmacists can contribute to this important initiative. public health and improve vaccine absorption.

“It provides important learnings for other countries about how best to use the skills of our most accessible health professional, the community pharmacist.”

Professor Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Board, said:

“This research clearly demonstrates the vital role that community pharmacy has played during the pandemic, providing essential advice to communities and combating health inequalities in areas with high social deprivation.

“Policy makers and commissioners need to push through the recommendations of this research and ensure that the strengths of the community pharmacy network are maximized for the benefit of patients.”

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services on the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said:

“This research provides a timely examination of the role that community pharmacy teams have played in supporting their communities in the fight against COVID-19.

“By keeping the doors open all the time, pharmacies have maintained day-to-day activities and managed to increase the demand for many services, including advice on managing minor illnesses. They have also substantially increased the number of vaccinations. Influenza administered and have played a key role in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

“These findings will help guide policy in the later stages of the pandemic and guide practice in future pandemics.”

Tony Kelly, diabetes ambassador, strategic partner of patients with diabetes – NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group and member of PERISCOPE, said:

“Community pharmacists are ideally at the forefront of the vaccination agenda, as they are the core of ethnically diverse communities and are often the first point of contact for most people.”


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Citation: Community Pharmacy May Play “Key Clinical Role” in COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery (2021, June 16) Retrieved June 16, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06- pharmacy-key-clinical-role -delivery.html

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