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COVID-19, staffing shortages impacting pharmacies

(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 3:08 PM CST

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Several industries in the workforce are currently being affected by staffing shortages, including pharmacies.

People say the shortages are impacting things like customer wait times and availability of appointment slots for vaccinations.

Experts say the shortage has to do with COVID-19 and the extra work pharmacists had to take on during the pandemic.

“I think COVID has affected a number of healthcare providers throughout the state, including pharmacies. We are taking on additional roles of testing, additional responsibilities toward providing the vaccinations,” said Randal Johnson, president of the Louisiana Independent Pharmacy Association.

He says the shortage affects more well known drug stores than local pharmacies.

“We hear quite a bit of complaints in the pharmacy community about chain drug stores who are not appropriately staffing, and I believe one thing they can do is respect their employees better and work to create a healthy and a safe work.”

The U.S. Labor Bureau of Statistics saw an increase of 210,000 jobs last month, but it could be awhile before the economy fully recovers from staffing shortages.

“It’s going to get better after the first of the year, however it’s not going to be noticeably better until at least six months to a year. In any type of downturn in the economy, one of the last things to come back is jobs,” said David Hoaas, economics professor at Centenary College.

Johnson encourages customers to shop locally.

“Find that pharmacist in your community, that small business independently owned pharmacist, because he’s making the best decisions for staffing to cover the needs that him and his community need,” he said.

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