National Pharmacist Day: Equipping Healthcare’s Unsung Heroes with the Tools They Need
Today’s pharmacist is much more than a figure in a white lab coat filling prescriptions. Pharmacists play a critical role in daily patient care, with consumers increasingly relying on their local pharmacy for wellness information, routine vaccinations, drug consultations and non-emergency services.
With this growing responsibility and accessibility, National Pharmacist Day is an opportunity to not only celebrate the vital contributions of community pharmacists, but also recognize ways we can simplify their workflow to help improve their experience and patient safety.
The Evolving Role of the Pharmacist
Community pharmacists are vital to helping ensure people receive safe, quality treatment and education about their care. Community pharmacists offer the convenience and accessibility needed to help improve patient compliance to vaccination recommendations. In fact, today’s pharmacies administer the large majority of recommended routine vaccinations.¹ As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacists were the unsung heroes in our response to this public health crisis, acting as our first line of defense in many parts of the country. They ensured efficient and safe administration of hundreds of millions of vaccines and conducted millions of COVID-19 tests, all while putting themselves at risk for infection.²
While the pandemic may be behind us, community pharmacists continue to feel the strain of staff shortages and a demanding influx of patients. According to a survey conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) in 2022, three-quarters of community pharmacists report staffing shortages.³ This lack of reprieve can create stress for the staff who remain – over half of pharmacists report experiencing burnout,⁴ with the COVID-19 pandemic increasing this sentiment.⁵ Staffing shortages and burnout can create cascading problems, including negative impacts to the quality of patient care.⁶
With fall and winter seasons bringing surges of flu, COVID-19 and RSV,⁷ these pharmacists are crucial to our management of respiratory virus season. As the community’s reliance on pharmacists increases, they need to feel empowered with tools that will allow them to treat all patients safely and efficiently, rather than add to their burden.
Equipping Pharmacists with The Right Tools
Vaccine design can impact the time pharmacists spend administering each dose – small differences can add up significantly over the course of a day’s vaccinations. For example, with prefilled syringes (PFS), pharmacists do not need to prepare or draw the medicine into the needle because the correct amount is already present in the barrel and is ready for quick injection. PFS are recognized as an efficient, reliable and convenient method for drug administration.⁸ PFS, with their pre-measured dosage, can also provide greater patient safety by helping reduce dosing errors and the potential for inadvertent needle sticks and exposure to toxic products that can occur while drawing medication from vials.⁹ By equipping pharmacist with tools that may streamline their workflow and time-per-patient, we can start to improve the pharmacist experience and help make their patient load feel more manageable.
Our Commitment to Pharmacist-Centric Vaccine Design
Easing the workload for pharmacists is a priority for Moderna, and we put the pharmacist experience at the center of our vaccine design as we explore new pharmaceutical delivery forms. We are grateful to our pharmacists for the care they provide every day, and the essential role they play in helping protect millions of people from preventable diseases.