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How pharmacists can handle concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine

Professor Mahendra Patel says COVID-19 vaccines will have the "gold standard" of approval
Professor Mahendra Patel says COVID-19 vaccines will have the "gold standard" of approval

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.

How has your pharmacy been affected by COVID-19?

V K P, Community pharmacist

they want to use pharmacists to lie for them and that too for free.  blagging a lie takes up too much time so how about drawing up an SLA with fees for providing a lie. Dr Patel is a pharmacist ?? :s

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

How come any person as soon as they have a platform have an unsupressable urge to instruct pharmacist to unpaid work. Does the professor not think we have enough on our plate. Please do your job and I will do mine. If you can get funding for an extra pharmacist we would do all sorts of unpaid jobs. No more ''pharmacists can do this''. A lawyer or an accountant or a private doctor would not give you the time of the day. Any thing that costs nothing is worth nothing.

If the kind professor wants to come and give free advice in my pharmacy he is more than welcome.



Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Why would I reassure people about the safety of this vaccine when I have misgivings about the LONG TERM safety which has not been established? I will not lie to patients in the limited time I have remaining in this godforsaken job.

Navid Kaleem, Community pharmacist

Well informed, straight talking and beneficial. Thank you Dr Patel

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