MedEssist’s Impact on the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Author: Written by Nikita Mahajan, PharmD BHSc, Clinical Operations Associate Medessist
With Ontario amid its third wave, Brampton has accounted for a significant portion of emerging COVID-19 cases. Many have been quick to blame multigenerational households and social gatherings for these grossly high infection rates². However, high infection rates can also be attributed to the delayed access of vaccines to isolated individuals, a lack of funding, and the city being home to a large number of essential workers who don’t have the ability to work from home¹,².
While the city of Toronto has had access to numerous COVID vaccination pop-ups resulting in eager lineups, Brampton previously only had one pop up clinic run by William Osler at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Etobicoke, which offered vaccinations to individuals from two postal codes³.
To fight the spread of COVID-19, pharmacists have served as accessible healthcare heroes by administering vaccinations to their local communities, in addition to routine tasks like dispensing prescriptions and providing clinical services. With the administration of vaccines, however, pharmacists are now facing new issues such as an unprecedented amount of phone calls, emails and traffic flow from patients demanding vaccinations. These issues are further exacerbated as Canadians turn towards crowdsourced groups such as Vaccine Hunters Canada, a volunteer group that uses social media alerts and a website to document where people can go to get a COVID-19 vaccine without consent from the pharmacy. Taken together, neighbourhood pharmacies offering vaccinations are now facing significant disruptions to their regular workflow. This includes evaluating the therapeutic appropriateness of prescriptions, optimizing dosing regimens when required, making recommendations for minor ailments, and conducting comprehensive medication reviews for complex patients.
To overcome these challenges, and recognizing that pharmacists are in desperate need of help, MedEssist, in collaboration with Digital Main Street Lab and the Peel Region Municipality, are working together to offer free access to MedEssist’s vaccinations and services. We have also partnered with national pharmacy brands and associations, such as the Ontario Pharmacists Association, to enable equitable, accessible, and rapid deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine to Canadians.
According to the CDC4 (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), the Covid-19 vaccination has numerous positive benefits for personal health and the overall health of the community as a whole. The CDC strongly recommends the vaccine as it helps to prevent the spread of the virus by helping the body build immunity and diminish the severity of symptoms. The goal of any vaccine is to limit the number of people contracting the virus to lighten the load on healthcare workers via limiting the number of hospitalizations and fatalities. The more people who receive the vaccine, the quicker we can return to a "new normal" and revert to our jobs, activities and routines. The vaccine is a safe and effective measure in stopping the spread of the virus.
Brampton is home to a beautifully diverse population and with the right resources, independent community pharmacies can manage and coordinate multiple challenges despite the pandemic. Pharmacists can prioritize their patients with complex and chronic conditions first and ensure they are protected during the vaccination supply inconsistencies. We hope that our small steps are helping patients regain a sense of normalcy by ensuring each patient receives the appropriate healthcare during these trying times.
- Boisvert, N. (2021, January 06). Hard-hit Brampton to open first COVID-19 isolation sites, raising questions about why it took so long. CBC. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/brampton-voluntary-isolation-funding-1.5862250
- Nasser, S. (2020, September 14). Brampton has emerged as one of Ontario's COVID-19 hotspots, but experts urge caution on where to lay blame. CBC. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/brampton-coronavirus-covid-19-south-asian-1.5723330 (external link)
- Warren, M., & Sarrouh, M. (2021, April 28). Https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/28/hard-hit-brampton-hot-spots-have-few-pop-up-vaccine-clinics-so-far-are-things-about-to-change.html. Hard-hit Brampton Hot Spots Have Few Pop-up Vaccine Clinics so Far. Are Things about to Change? Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/28/hard-hit-brampton-hot-spots-have-few-pop-up-vaccine-clinics-so-far-are-things-about-to-change.html (external link)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). About COVID-19 Vaccine Delivered and Administration Data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/distributing/about-vaccine-data.html (external link) .