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Hire frenzy for pharmacists as the Covid-19 vaccine is deployed

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Drugstores and grocery stores across the country are competing to hire thousands of pharmacists and technicians. Administer the Covid-19 vaccine To the masses.

“Call all pharmacists, nurses and pharmacy technicians,” he said after reading a bunch of emails from CVS to customers, saying the company is urgently hiring thousands of medical professionals. .. The CVS, which employs 34,000 pharmacists and 65,000 technicians, did not reveal how many workers it employs. The company is looking for both short-term and full-time workers.

Walgreens said it plans to employ about 25,000 people nationwide, including 8,000 to 9,000 pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Administer the vaccine.. We employ 75,000 pharmacists and technicians.

Executives from both chains said this week they were confident that they had enough staff to administer the vaccine. Rick Gates, Senior Vice President of Walgreens, said: “I’m proud to step up. There are people in retirement who say,” We absolutely want to help. ” “

Many small chain stores and grocery stores have pharmacy counters, but I’m not sure if I can find a worker, especially for technicians. Technicians are usually hourly workers who have a license to help pharmacists fill out prescriptions, such as counting tablets and answering customer questions.

“There aren’t enough people to vaccinate. Hy-Vee Inc’s Chief Health Officer, Aaron Wiese, said: The Midwest, which has about 1,300 pharmacy technicians in over 270 pharmacies. The grocery store is about to hire an additional 1,000 people to distribute Covid. -19 vaccines and tests.

The pharmacist job market has been desolate for years, with far more pharmacy graduates than jobs. According to 2019 data, the US Department of Labor predicts that the pharmacist employment market will shrink by 3% over the next decade.

Hundreds of independent Grocery-based pharmacies closed, Can’t make money by handling high operating costs. Large chains are slowing down or starting to shrink their stores as consumers buy. Even prescription drugs, Go online. Meanwhile, lower drug reimbursement rates have squeezed profits. The impact of working pharmacists is that they have fewer jobs and lower wages. With a rougher workload..

“I’m not very interested in returning just to give a shot,” said pharmacist Michael West, who was fired from Walgreens, North Carolina for retirement in July. The pharmacy “has made these cuts and is now begging people to come back,” he said.

West, who has spent more than 20 years as a pharmacist, including CVS, said he plans to continue retiring. He said he felt pressure to send out prescriptions at the expense of spending time with customers while tracking low-cost treatments that might require doctor approval. .. “I felt like it was basically boosting sales,” he said.

A Walgreens spokeswoman said the company is investing in improving technology and operations to ease the burden on pharmacists’ daily work. “We are committed to providing high quality and reliable pharmacy services to meet the needs of our customers and at the same time ensure the well-being of each pharmacy staff,” she said.

Walgreens, CVS,

Rite Aid Co., Ltd.

RAD 3.37%

Combined with the third largest drugstore chain in the United States, there are about 21,300 US stores, about 1,000 fewer than five years ago.Number of Grocery pharmacies have declined for the first time in years In 2017, the latest year in which data is available, it decreased from 9,344 in 2016 to 9,026.

“This is a matter of supply and demand. There was not enough supply. [a decade ago from pharmacy schools] And now we have too much supply, “said Scott Noah, president of the American Pharmacists Association. The oversupply is likely to be enough to secure enough workers to vaccinate the masses from next year, he said. And hiring is a bright spot for pharmacy graduates and technicians, he said.

However, for many in this area, new jobs, many of which are short-term during vaccination, are not as attractive as long-term jobs. The median annual income of pharmacists in 2019 was $ 128,090. According to the Ministry of Labor, pharmacy technicians earned $ 33,950 a year.

Pharmacist wages are growing slower than the workforce as a whole, and less work is being added in this area. According to Ministry of Labor statistics, the median hourly wage of pharmacists increased by 4.8% between 2016 and 2019, and increased by 7.5% in all occupations.

A pharmacist requires a PhD or professional degree. A pharmacy technician’s job requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers may require additional training or education.

Pharmacies are aiming to hire more technicians in recent years to free pharmacists from administrative tasks. The pace of employment is intensifying ahead of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Technicians were granted the Covid-19 vaccine by the US Department of Health and Human Services in October, but requirements vary from state to state.

The technician not only injects, but also checks the vaccine history, processes the consent form, and schedules a double vaccination appointment, the company said. They can also help to space patients and reduce distance in the store.

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The chain says it’s difficult to track the various state rules that determine the jobs that pharmacy technicians can perform and the qualifications they need.

Royal Ahold Delhaize

John McGrath, vice president of pharmacy services in Ahold Delhaize’s services business, said NV’s Hannaford Grocery Chain, which has more than 180 stores with pharmacies in the northeast, gives engineers a one-time bonus. We encourage you to be certified for vaccination management by providing it.

Immunization certification includes various qualifications such as CPR training. In addition to training staff, Ahold Delhaize also employs a per diem pharmacist and continues to look for technicians, he added.

Hy-Vee is aimed at former pharmacy workers, especially those in rural areas who have left the industry due to competition. “We are all chasing the same pool,” said Chief Health Officer Weise, adding that competitors are chasing technicians with contracts.

Write to Sharon Terlep at [email protected] And Jewonkan [email protected]

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