Communication is essential for effective COVID-19 vaccination in a hospital pharmacy

Pharmacy hours® interviewed Michael Flannery, PharmD, deputy director of pharmacy operations at the University of Rochester Medical Center, about the process of vaccinating hospital pharmacy staff with the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

Alana Hippensteele: Today, I’m speaking with Michael Flannery, Assistant Director of Pharmacy Operations at the University of Rochester Medical Center, about the process the University of Rochester Medical Center has developed regarding COVID-19 vaccines that have recently received emergency use authorization. US FDA Clearances, or EUAs.

So, Michael, when does the University of Rochester Medical Center expect to start receiving and administering the recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines?

Michel Flannery: Of course, Alana. We actually received our first shipment last Monday, December 14th. That was Pfizer’s shipment is a Pfizer vaccine for the 195 vials. Shortly after receiving it, we started injecting it into our employees.

So we opened a clinic that afternoon, ran a clinic the next day, and continued to dose our staff here at the hospital at about 1,300 doses in the first week.

Alana Hippensteele: Wow, yeah. It’s incredible. What are the plans of the University of Rochester Medical Center to complete the organization and planning of these vaccinations?

Michel Flannery: Of course, obviously. A lot of it has to do with how much and how much vaccine we have. We received the Moderna vaccine yesterday, and this morning we also received the second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.

So by working with the New York State Department of Health and the guidelines they set, the health of our employees handles the majority of this by working with the Hospital Administration Nursing, Pharmacy and a number of other departments, and we really have with this real interdisciplinary team to carry out the business.

Obviously, the communication has been great, as well as successful. Several zoom meetings are organized daily, pre-clinical meetings [that are] socially distanced, obviously, and then frequent check-ins in the clinics really made the clinics very fluid.

We have developed a process that streamlines a linear flow for our employees when they come for the vaccine, again making sure to keep a social distance. We schedule appointments to maintain a constant flow throughout the time of the clinic. And we also schedule staff members for their second dose as soon as they sign up for their first dose, so, again, working with employee health workers and in coordination with the Department of Health, the model they provide or the matrix they ‘offer, for what staff are eligible to receive, has really been our fashion so far. So, communication has been the big factor that has contributed to the success of this.

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