The ability to book appointments with patients has allowed better patient tracking and better overall outcomes for planning and staffing, Bulych adds.
“What we’re also hearing is that the conversations are taking much longer, that they’re 30 to 40 minutes. If you have the time, and you have a good foundation for how to connect with people, you can really make a big difference, but it is a very time-consuming process, absolutely. You have to really have a strategy on how to talk to people based on what their needs are.”
Reasons for vaccine hesitancy have changed over time, Bulych says, with some topics popping up regularly, such as concerns around pregnancy. People’s perceptions about the speed of vaccine development and other issues have also been raised. Anecdotally, she has noted an increase in requests for support materials.
The number of pharmacies offering vaccines has dipped from 371 at the peak of summer to 333 currently participating. Where the demand is lower than the minimum quantities required for ordering the Covid vaccine, pharmacies are strategically working with other healthcare facilities in the community, such as the Saskatchewan Health Authority. As well, pharmacy students who had been assisting in vaccine delivery in summer have returned to school this fall.
“We’re just trying to respond very quickly to a massive additional scope of practice. Every pharmacy still wants to do their part to provide the public with COVID shots, but the reality is they also need to take care of themselves and prevent burnout.”
SHA’s resources are useful because they are scrutinized by health care professionals and provide solid evidence to present to patients who have concerns.
“There’s all sort of theories out there and false information floating around,” Bulych says. “So our role can only be to provide solid evidence. And let’s be honest, sometimes that doesn’t do it. Sometimes people are so ingrained in their way of thinking that we have to find that balance of affirming them but not causing them to dig their heels in even further. It really isn’t easy, especially if you’re working in a busy dispensary.”