Independent community pharmacies like mine in Maryland are finally receiving and administering COVID-19 vaccines. My pharmacy obtained the vaccine through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership. We signed a contract months ago and have been waiting patiently to be called upon to help the vaccine effort. We received the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge from the federal government and it was shipped through a major drug wholesaler, McKesson. Now, the only problem is that there is more vaccine than patients ready to receive it.
I ask every patient I encounter if they have received their vaccine and if they know anyone who is looking for vaccine. Many patients have signed up gladly and we are doing our part. However, many patients also say they have not and they will not! As pharmacists, we have been charged to make a strong case for vaccination and with the Centers for Disease Control behind me, I make my best case.
The most compelling evidence I have is that vaccination is already working. Where vaccination rates are high, COVID-19 cases are low. I also use the words of our governor, Larry Hogan: “Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your friends, and do it so that all of us can put this global pandemic behind us.” Well said, in my opinion.
Vaccination is a true public health civic duty. My most persuasive argument, though, is the family and friend piece. As a pharmacist, I have trouble convincing anti-vaxers to get vaccinated. I urge everyone in the community who has a family member or friend who has not been vaccinated to help persuade them to get one. And persuade them not with science or data, but as family and friends who care about one another and our community.