Pandemic Shows Value of Local Pharmacies
Hayat Pharmacy has 12 locations and a staff that speaks 22 languages.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the role of community pharmacies and the ways the public interacts with them, especially in underserved areas.
Dr. Hashim Zaibak — who heads Milwaukee’s Hayat Pharmacies with more than 12 locations and a staff that speaks 22 languages and dialects — said pharmacists and technicians are becoming more recognizable as reliable health care providers and not just medication dispensers.
“COVID came and it really showed the value of pharmacists,” Zaibak said on WPR’s “The Morning Show.” “Now, we are educators. We are going to the community. We’re telling people why they should get vaccinated.”
Zaibak, whose pharmacies work to reach historically underserved communities, said that Hayat started a program for home vaccinations to get to people who might be homebound. The program connects pharmacists and nurses with people who need assistance.
“We also have worked with some churches who have their own minivans or similar transportation tools to bring people to our pharmacies to get vaccinated,” he said.
As educators, Zaibak said his pharmacies’ staff also are dispelling myths about the vaccine that have run rampant on social media sites, for example that the vaccine can make people infertile, that the vaccine kills people, that the government is exaggerating the gravity of COVID-19 and that COVID-19 is just a myth.
Zaibak said since the delta variant’s arrival, his pharmacies are testing about 200 people a day, compared to 15 to 20 people prior to delta.
People can go to the pharmacy to get a PCR test, which is free to them, but takes a day or two to get results. Quicker results can be had with antigen tests that people can buy for $25 and perform on themselves or pay $66 to get tested in the pharmacy — though rapid tests aren’t always accepted as proof of not having the virus.
Zaibak said those who aren’t sure how to navigate finding their results online return to the pharmacy for help printing their results.
“That’s the beauty of being a community pharmacy,” he said. “We’re not the super large organization. We’re small enough where we know our community and we know what’s needed and how to take care of them and how to change the system a little bit to make it easy for people.”
He said in pharmacy organizations, there’s often five or six technicians per every pharmacist, so giving them the ability to help vaccinate tens of thousands of people has changed pharmacies’ efficiency and reach.
“These technicians are well-trained, certified, and yet in the past, they couldn’t do this,” he said. “But now they can. And that’s beautiful.”
Allowing technicians to vaccinate is one example of how the pandemic has “opened doors” that help prove the value of community pharmacies.
“We are the most accessible health care professionals in the nation,” he said.
Listen to the WPR report here.
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Oct 15th, 2021
- MATC to Host Public COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus Oct. 18 - Milwaukee Area Technical College - Oct 15th, 2021
- City Hall: MPD Supervisors Face Vaccine-or-Mask Requirement - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 14th, 2021
- Hospitals Expect to Lose Staff Over Vaccine Mandates - Shamane Mills - Oct 14th, 2021
- Rural Areas Have Highest COVID-19 Death Rates - Shamane Mills - Oct 13th, 2021
- DHS Announces Multiple Funding Opportunities to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Oct 13th, 2021
- City and Police Supervisors Reach Agreement on COVID Vaccinations - City of Milwaukee - Oct 13th, 2021
- MKE County: COVID-19 Disease Remains At High Level - Graham Kilmer - Oct 12th, 2021
- New COVID-19 Mass Testing Site Opens in Menomonee Valley - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 11th, 2021
- Class Action Lawsuit Targets Schools For Lax COVID-19 Policies - Corri Hess - Oct 10th, 2021
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here