‘We can oppose the anti-vaxxers.’

An international pharmacy leader has highlighted the role the profession can play in battling vaccine hesitancy and refusal, on World Pharmacists Day

Over the weekend the world’s pharmacists celebrated the profession, taking to social media and taking part in events to showcase the work they do.

International Pharmaceutical Federation president Dominique Jordan, a pharmacist from Switzerland, pointed out that this year’s theme, “that the profession of pharmacy can always be trusted for your health,” is “extremely relevant” particularly in the light of the pandemic.

“Today, on behalf of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, FIP, I wish you a happy World Pharmacists Day,” he told pharmacists, saying that this year FIP’s campaign is “bigger than ever”.

“Now, our societies are in a general time of distrust and uncertainty, and vaccine hesitancy remains a major hurdle,” he said.

“Pharmacy has built up a big reserve of trust over many years of caring and excellent practice.

And we can put this to use more than ever to benefit our communities. We give advice based on the best scientific evidence.

“We can oppose the anti-vaxxers.”

He thanked pharmacists from around the globe for the work they have done during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Never have I been so proud to be a pharmacist as in the past 18 months and you should be proud too.”

Pharmacy and other health stakeholders around the world also celebrated on Saturday, and used the occasion to highlight the role pharmacists play in different health systems.

Many appeared on FIP’s wall of champions.

Pharmacists were not the only ones to celebrate, with the hashtag #thankyoupharmacists beginning to circulate on social media.

Across the ditch, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health thanked pharmacists “for their agility, and commitment to the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout”.

“Thank you for the important role you play as part of the wider healthcare team, both in our hospitals and communities, making sure patients understand and get the best results from their medicines,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“Pharmacists, technicians and their teams continue to step up and respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have embraced new opportunities and we thank them for throwing their support behind the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.”

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told a webinar audience that pharmacists were “frontlining it” and encouraged collaboration as Malaysia moved towards the “endemic phase” of the pandemic.

“When doctors and hospitals, those in the front line of healthcare are overburdened, the next in line must step in, and these are our community pharmacists,” he said.

In Nagpur, India, Kailas Tandale, president of Maharashtra Practising Pharmacists Association (MPPA), told the Times of India that pharmacists were the most neglected health professionals in the system.

“Pharmacists are respected in most of the countries, especially the developed ones,” he said. “In India we do not enjoy the same respect.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to fore the pivotal position of pharmacists in the patient treatment program.”

In Nigeria, wife of former senate president and founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Princess Toyin Saraki used the day to highlight health inequity, saying that pharmacists needed to be paid more to allow them to do their work.

Speaking at an event in Abuja held to celebrate the occasion, she also drew attention to a shortage of pharmacists, saying that one pharmacist for every 50,000 Nigerians was a ratio which was dangerous to the health of many.

In England, Dr Keith Ridge, NHS England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, used the occasion to share a joint national Statement of Principles on inclusive pharmacy professional practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in England.

“The principles that it includes are:

“We will strive towards pharmacy professionals being an exemplar among UK health professionals for equality, diversity, inclusion, fairness and belonging.

“We will commit as professionals to value all people and to adopt and promote a culture of zero tolerance to all kinds of harassment, bullying and discrimination in the workplace.

“We will proactively seek to learn and understand communities and cultures so that we can be more effective health and care practitioners and providers.

“We will champion national and local policies and initiatives to address health and workforce inequalities.”

And Australian pharmacists overseas celebrated as well.

Australia’s Department of Defence highlighted the work of Lieutenant Amanda Dreger, who is supporting joint operations in the Middle East from the ADF’s main operating base in the area.

“The role of the pharmacist in the Middle East is primarily logistics, stock procurement and warehousing,” Lieutenant Dreger said.

“One of the big trials on this deployment has been COVID-19 – things are quite different to Australia here.

“Being in the medical system during a pandemic has been challenging but a good learning curve.”

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1 Comment

  1. Anthony Zehetner

    The Rx made up of people is cute. I don’t think we should threaten the public by killing them with one mistake if they aren’t nice to us — we would probably drop in our rankings of being a trusted profession!

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