Oksana Pyzik, global health advisor and senior lecturer at University College London School of Pharmacy, tells C+D that pharmacists are in an ideal position to communicate with patients in vaccine hesitancy groups.
Those patients in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups have shown more vaccine hesitancy, despite having poorer health outcomes. She says, “pharmacists are a very diverse workforce who could be helpful in transcending certain language barriers and playing a more active role” in advocating vaccine uptake and ensuring communities are getting appropriate support.
C+D’s clinical and custom content editor, Naimah Callachand, spoke to Ms Pyzik about pharmacy’s role in COVID vaccination. She says “we should be ramping up” the number of pharmacies involved in the service and “[COVID-19 vaccines] should be offered as part of a regular service coming out of the acute phase of the pandemic.”
“We should be taking into consideration preferences of the community” with regards to where they receive their vaccines, Ms Pyzik says. Those who have been shielding may be apprehensive about attending larger vaccination centres as opposed to visiting their local pharmacy for their vaccine, for example.
Ms Pyzik also discusses the efficacy of the increased COVID vaccine dosing interval from 3-4 weeks to 12 weeks. “Even if there is a reduced efficacy [with the 12-week interval], it will still give enough protection to prevent severe cases [of COVID infection]” she says, “while protecting the NHS and reducing the number of deaths.”
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