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How pharmacists can handle concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine

Professor Mahendra Patel says pharmacists can tackle patient misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines by reassuring them about safety concerns

In C+D’s latest podcast, clinical editor Naimah Callachand speaks to Professor Mahendra Patel, a pharmacist and the national black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community and pharmacy lead for the PRINCIPLE COVID-19 clinical trial led by the University of Oxford.

Speaking on November 26 before the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines were approved for use in the UK and that selected pharmacy-led sites will deliver vaccines, Professor Patel explains that pharmacists can play an essential role in reassuring patients concerned about the safety of all types of COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s important to dispel any doubts that patients may have “clearly and as quickly as possible”, says Professor Patel, who is also a C+D clinical advisory board member. Pharmacists can ease safety concerns by telling patients that the vaccine has gone through the “global gold standard” of regulation via the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Companies developing the vaccine were able to make it in under a year, rather than the usual 10 years for similar medicines, because of the template provided by vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Professor Patel says. “We didn't have to go through the initial building stages of developing the vaccine.”

People may have some mild side effects, such as mild fever and pain at the injection site, but these are rare and are likely to disappear after a few days like with those caused by the flu vaccine, he continues.

When asked about additional training for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, he says: “It’s important that pharmacists are adequately upskilled and confident in providing the vaccine as safely as possible”.

You can listen to the podcast below. Alternatively, subscribe to C+D's podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud.


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