Some N.S. pharmacy staff being asked to provide false vaccination records

·2 min read
Diane Harpell is chair of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (PANS - image credit)
Diane Harpell is chair of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (PANS - image credit)

Staff of some pharmacies have been asked by members of the public to provide falsified vaccination records, according to the head of the province's pharmacy association.

Diane Harpell, chair of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, said the issue has hit quite close to home, with one of her own staff being asked for a false record.

"One of my immunizers here in my pharmacy was actually asked by a patient to give them a record and offered to pay money," she said. "I'm not sure if it was a joke.

"Obviously, we didn't go ahead with it, but they did ask it and they ended up getting the vaccine and not going ahead with this plan."

According to Harpell, the cases she heard about were earlier in the year but the issue has been discussed in the pharmacy community.

She said the association and the pharmacy regulator issued notices reminding pharmacy staff to check identification and informing people about what was required to prevent any potential fraud.

Harpell said it was "awful" that anyone would even think to ask for such a thing, and anyone asking should be aware of the consequences the pharmacist could face.

She said the pharmacist could risk losing their hard-earned licence and their livelihood.

Harpell said she wasn't aware of any pharmacy team member who would even consider being a part of such a scheme.

Heavy workload

Another more pressing issue facing pharmacists is the non-stop workload they have been enduring throughout the pandemic, Harpell said.

In addition to doing the majority of the vaccine rollout in the province, she said pharmacists are now working to deliver booster shots.

She said along with the COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacists are providing flu shots and advice to people who are sick at home with COVID-19 and calling for help.

Harpell said she is fortunate to run her own business and makes her own decisions around staffing, but others are not in that position and are "experiencing a lot of exhaustion right now, a lot of burnout."

Harpell is asking the public to be mindful of the workload pharmacists are dealing with and the contribution they are making to health care in the province.

"Understand that most of your pharmacy team members never really even had a Christmas break," she said. "People are just working right on through this so be kind to us, be patient and know that we're doing our darndest."

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