The pharmacy profession plays a key role in phase two of Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students are on the list of professionals approved to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, and pharmacies across Ontario are piloting vaccine administration clinics.
“I absolutely believe the pharmacy profession has valuable expertise to add to the vaccine conversation,” says Ken Manson, a pharmacist and experiential coordinator with the School of Pharmacy. “Pharmacists have been running vaccination clinics for six years – starting with the influenza vaccine – and we have exceptional experience in managing workflow and inventory, training staff and supporting clinical patient care needs. We are well-positioned to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.”
Manson is one of several School staff and faculty supporting the new Region of Waterloo Public Health vaccine clinic. This clinic is led by the Centre for Family Medicine and the Region and supported by the University of Waterloo who have provided their Health Sciences Campus as the clinic location. Working in the clinic outside of his regular work hours, Manson’s role involves overseeing vaccine inventory, signing off on prepared doses of vaccine and being available for drug information questions.
Each day at the clinic, pharmacists are in this role to support the flow of vaccines to those injecting. There are also opportunities for pharmacists in vaccine preparation and injecting – highlighting just how valuable and versatile pharmacists can be.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase the skills pharmacists have to offer, and when better than Pharmacy Appreciation Month to do so,” he says.
Pharmacists are also integral members of the Waterloo Region Vaccine Task Force. Manson was invited by Professor Kelly Grindrod to provide input to the pharmacy vaccine working group that supports the Region’s task force.
The working group includes representatives from all areas of pharmacy practice and makes recommendations on pharmacist involvement in the vaccine rollout in the Region. Manson brings diverse expertise to this initiative. He has experience both as a community pharmacy manager in Guelph and as an experiential coordinator at Pharmacy where he organizes hundreds of student placements in cities across Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Sarnia to Kingston.
As a member of the working group, Manson participates in regular meetings where the group discusses logistics of vaccine delivery across a variety of health-care environments and provides recommendations for Professor Grindrod to take to the task force. He shares insights gained from working with the pharmacist preceptors across Ontario that support students on senior clinical placements.
“Ideally, best practices and lessons learned can be shared between local and provincial clinics,” says Manson, who is also a University of Waterloo alumnus (BSc’01).
“As a Waterloo Region resident of many years, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute back to my community in this way and to help demonstrate the critical role pharmacists can play in beating this pandemic.”
March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month. This month, in our #PAM2021 series, the School of Pharmacy is highlighting the unique ways that the pharmacy community has supported Canadians through the pandemic.