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Pharmacy students help housebound people get their Covid vaccines

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Published on 20 April 2021

University of Sunderland pharmacy students Jodi Inch, Rebecca Gair and Naomi Dover
University of Sunderland pharmacy students Jodi Inch, Rebecca Gair and Naomi Dover

The team of pharmacists in South Tyneside have made good progress in their drive to vaccinate housebound people that they expect to complete the second stage of the project by the end of April.

Students from the University of Sunderland's School of Pharmacy stepped up to help make a difference when the housebound vaccination started in January.

The Pharmacy students volunteered to assist in housebound vaccinations, dedicating their weekends to help the vaccination programme reach vulnerable patients, housebound individuals and carers.

Buddying alongside the 22 community pharmacists the students helped organise housebound vaccination appointments, contact patients, perform pre-vaccine medical questionnaires and input information into the data systems as well as support patients throughout the vaccination process.

Being involved in the vaccination programme for pharmacy students such as Jodi Inch, Rebecca Gair and Naomi Dover has been a privilege.

Naomi, from South Shields, is a pre-registration pharmacist at Edinburgh Road Pharmacy in Jarrow. 

The 22-year-old said: "I felt the urgency to help during the pandemic and to do something good for the community and helping out with the vaccine programme.

"The response from patients has been very positive. Most are so pleased to get their vaccine within their home and hopefully to soon have family and friends be able to visit.

"It’s been so rewarding to be part of this and to bring some positivity in these patients lives."

Jodi, 38, from Gateshead, is a third year pharmacy student. 

"It has been amazing, I am so privileged to be involved and have the opportunity to help our community's vulnerable patients," she said.

"I am immensely proud and as a student to have the opportunity to get involved and take on a responsible role it's been great to be so involved.

"I'm sad it's coming to an end, but it also shows things are moving forward, which is a positive sign."

Fourth year pharmacy student, 22-year-old Rebecca, from Sunderland, added: "There's a lot more to pharmacy than people think. It's been rewarding and amazing to see how many pharmacists have come together to provide the vaccine to the community and vulnerable patients.

"I am so proud to enter the profession and to go into these teams in my future career."

The students have experienced first-hand working with the team, having one-to-one interaction with patients and seeing how the vaccination is helping during the Covid-19 crisis.

Collaboration between volunteers, students, local organisations and healthcare professional has been key in overcoming challenges thrown up by the pandemic.

Kathryn Davison is Principal Lecturer and Team Leader of the Pharmacy Practice and Clinical Therapeutics team in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Sunderland.

She said: “It is extremely inspiring to see the work being done by community pharmacists in South Tyneside to roll the Covid vaccination programme in patients’ homes.

"I am extremely proud to see our own students taking an active and important role in mobilising and helping with the programme, they are the future of our workforce and fantastic ambassadors for the University of Sunderland."

Matt Brown, Executive Director of Operations at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “The pharmy army are making such a difference for our local NHS, helping some of our most vulnerable patients.

"It's wonderful to see so many people coming together to work on the housebound vaccinations. The pharmacy students have been a great asset to the team and have allowed us to make great progress with the vaccine in South Tyneside.

“We have now given over 95,000 vaccine doses to South Tyneside residents and we’re well on track to complete housebound vaccinations by the end of the month.

"It's important that the community continues to work together following the government guidance, remembering hands, face, space and continuing to get as many people vaccinated as possible."

This year, staff and students past and present are celebrating 100 years of Pharmacy education at the University of Sunderland.

The centenary will be marked with a series of events. Those still to come are:

• Sunderland Global Pharmacists Network – June 2021

An Evening with Briony Hudson and Emeritus Professor Malcolm Hooper – September 30th

Pharmacy Exhibition at Beamish live tour – October 1st

Pharmacy Centenary Celebrations Weekend – October 15th / 16th

• Hospital Pharmacy in the Real World – November 4th

• An Evening with Sunderland Pharmaceutical Students' Association (SPSA) Committee Members (Past and Present) – December 2nd