RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake Technical Community College pharmacy technician students could soon do their part in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out plan.
The state is adding providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Walgreens will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines at the end of the week. Other independent pharmacies are also preparing.
Along with a dependable supply, the state will also need people in pharmacies with the legal ability to vaccinate patients.
“As we do get this vaccine supply, I think it’s important that we have all the health care workers possible on hand to be able to get this vaccine out,” said Shannon Natale, department head for Wake Tech’s pharmacy technology program.
This spring, pharmacy technology students will start training in how to administer vaccines. It’s not something pharmacy technicians are typically certified to do.
“Current technicians that are working in pharmacies won’t even have the skill set yet. So, we are very excited that our students will be graduating in May and they will be ready to go and be able to vaccinate us there as they are hired,” said Natale.
Pharmacy technicians are already in high demand. Their help will be needed even more as the state gets closer to offering COVID-19 vaccines in local pharmacies.
Natale said pharmacies typically stay very busy and vaccinating patients will only increase that.
“While the pharmacists are happy to do this and they’re happy to be able to vaccinate, like I said, it’s increased their workload. So, for technicians to be able to take this off of their plate and vaccinate under their supervision, it’s certainly going to help the pharmacists with their workload,” Natale said.
The first group of students receive the certification will graduate in May.
Wake Tech is partnering with Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences to certify students. The university will provide the training course at Wake Tech’s Perry Health Sciences campus. The partnership has helped to get the program up and running.
“We were still trying to figure out exactly all of the requirements for technicians to be able to vaccinate and exactly what certification is needed and they already had it,” Natale said.
Wake Tech said they’re also working on a program to allow pharmacy technicians who are already working in the field to be trained and certified to administer vaccines.