In April 2009, cases of H1N1 sprung up on the west coast. Later that month, the US government declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the CDC released 25% of antiviral drugs from the federal stockpile. After months of public concern and over 1 million domestic infections, in late December, the first batches of the vaccine were available to the public. We knew it was coming, but when the flood gates opened, our pharmacy leaders were not ready.
Due to the high demand, most states relaxed their regulations allowing pharmacists to vaccinate adults and children. While already balancing growing prescription volumes with less technician help, in came droves of patients wanting to protect themselves from this deadly virus. We fought so hard for the right to vaccinate, but when the time came to step up, we were not ready.
As healthcare professionals, we have and always will put patient health and safety first, and we pushed through that pandemic. We racked up the pro bono overtime. We came in on our days off. We traveled for hours to service clinics in our rural communities. My fellow pharmacists stepped up, but it could have been better.