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Pharmacists battle fatigue during the pandemic

Madison area pharmacists continue to work long hours in the name of public health.
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - It has been a long 18 months and counting for pharmacists. From the early days of the pandemic, pharmacies have been vital to COVID-19 testing. As the vaccine rollout began, they were crucial to getting shots to more people.

Now, booster shots have arrived and more people (kids ages 5-11) will likely soon be added to the vaccine eligibility list. On top of that, flu season and flu shots. Even more time-consuming is the hours on phones, helping people around the community by answering questions about the vaccine and the virus. And pharmacists still need to fill crucial prescriptions too.

It is a lot of work, and for folks like Forward Pharmacy owner Matthew Mabie, it has been a long year and change.

As the pandemic rolls on, he hopes things like students help his staff avoid fatigue.

“The pharmacy school has been a critical resource,” said Mabie. “They have sent out more students as we have needed; that’s been really important and really lightens my workload.”

The ability to double up and give out booster shots and flu shots in the same appointment also helps lighten the workload.

Even more critical, Mabie says the work itself can help.

“It’s rewarding work; it’s great to give back to a community I grew up in; it’s what keeps the batteries charged,” said Mabie. “And my entire staff here in Cottage Grove has lived here for a good portion of their lives, that goes the same for all of our stores, so they are connected and tied to that community.”

That community tie helps with trust between the pharmacists and the people they are trying to help. For Mabie, the work allows him to help get vaccines to the kids of people he grew up with, giving back to his community.

“I have a few kids I give shots to who won’t let anyone else give them shots,” said Mabie. “So I have to get them their shots for life.”

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