With approval of COVID-19, RSV vaccines, pharmacists prepare for a busy season
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Pharmacists around the Madison area are hard at work preparing for flu season, but Influenza isn’t the only virus health officials are anticipating this fall.
Pharmacist at Neuhauser Pharmacy Maren Rasmussen says the newly approved RSV vaccine is one of many contributing to their influx of appointments.
“Flu season just means busyness, I mean it adds a whole other level to the pharmacy day-to-day,” she said. “Initially you say ‘It’s awesome!’ and then you have a list of 100 people long and you say, ‘Oof, my day is gonna be very busy.’ We are very excited to get started with it so we can get our patients taken care of.”
Rasmussen says community members are especially eager to get a third vaccination- the updated COVID-19 vaccine. A recommendation for the updated vaccine was signed off by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director last week.
“I’ve sort of been stalking our wholesaler’s website to see it when they get it in stock so I can order it at as soon as possible, but right now it’s just the waiting game,” Rasmussen said.
The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get the updated COVID-19 vaccines this fall; that’s in addition to the flu and RSV shots many are already planning to get.
Head of outreach of Community Pharmacy P.J. Chamberlain says they’ve distributed the COVID-19 vaccine in the past, but there is more uncertainty this time around.
“It’s a lot different than it was these last few years because before we were getting it kind of directly from the state and now, we have to get it from our supplier where we get all our other medications from,” Chamberlain said. “You see on the news ‘Oh, it’s been approved!’ But there’s a lot more to get you from approval to getting the shot than just that approval.”
The updated vaccine is not covered by the federal government, but pharmacists are optimistic about insurance coverage.
“We take what insurance we can and if it’s not covered, we either give people the best cash price we can or we encourage them to go places that it is covered,” Chamberlain said. “We just try our best to make sure everybody gets the health care they need and it’s not burdensome to them.”
Rasmussen says there will be options for those who don’t have insurance as well.
“I know that there’s a program in Wisconsin for the uninsured or underinsured that they have to go to specific locations for the vaccine which I would highly recommend they do so they can get it covered so that it’s free for them,” she said.
Both pharmacists expect to have the COVID-19 boosters in hand within the next few weeks.
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