Valley pharmacy feeling strain from industry worker shortage

Virus Outbreak
Posted at 4:41 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 08:18:09-04

PHOENIX — The latest pandemic shortage has been happening in pharmacies across the country, according to one pharmacy in the Valley.

The issue hasn’t just been in family-owned local pharmacies, but chain stores too.

Head pharmacist Heather Walker at Melrose Pharmacy in Phoenix told ABC15 it’s an issue they’ve been seeing for the past six months or so.

“I’ve had a hard time finding people that want jobs,” Walker said. “I want to make sure our customers are happy and they like seeing that consistency [in staff].”

Walker said it can be overwhelming when the phones are ringing and there’s a line out the door, but there are not enough pharmacy techs on hand to help.

One CVS pharmacy in Scottsdale had signs up last week that noted the pharmacy inside was closed due to staffing, although the drive-thru was still open.

“That’s crazy that they didn’t have the store open, although that’s probably their way of trying to help their staff not feel quite so bombarded or inundated or overwhelmed,” said Walker.

She also said she’s heard from doctors that some chains have been behind on prescriptions by as much as six days. As to why the lack of workers, she said she doesn’t know for sure.

“I think everyone’s having a problem, not just pharmacy, with hiring and keeping people.”

CVS ran a nationwide hiring push Friday to try to fill thousands of open positions in its stores and pharmacies nationwide. In Arizona alone, there were about 600 open spots.

You can search for open positions with the company by texting “CVS” to 25000.

CVS Health told ABC15:

“We continue to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in addition to providing trusted pharmacy care and innovative health solutions to our patients. Our teams remain flexible in meeting customers’ needs in a dynamic environment, and we’ve embarked on a nationwide hiring push to continue to respond to the needs of communities across the country during the fall and winter months when the incidence of flu is expected to increase and as COVID-19 vaccination and testing remain in high demand.”

Walker also said those fall and winter months should bring added work to her staff as well because of flu shots on top of COVID-19 vaccines.

If you are interested in joining the team at Melrose Pharmacy, they said they can help you get certifications on the job. You must be 18 or older and a high school graduate.