Staffing pressures: How local pharmacists deal with flu season

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – During flu season, everyone is at risk of getting sick, including your local pharmacists.

That can lead to a perfect storm – short staffing at one of the busiest times of the year.

Chris Bonner, the owner of Chris’ Pharmacy, said they just have to work through it.

“If you are a pharmacy that is lucky enough to have a large enough staff then you can bring on the pharmacists that are well. If not, you just have to struggle through it, and depending on what you have, if it is flu or a cold, you just show up for work. If it is COVID-19, then you are going to have to quarantine. We have been sick, but you just show up,” Bonner said.

But some of those that don’t have that extra staff have had to take extreme measures.

“Some pharmacies have actually closed just because they did not have the manpower. A couple of weeks ago, I only had two healthy employees; so it was me, one pharmacist, and two employees all week and it was tough, it was very tough,” Bonner said.

Bonner said one thing they do to stay on top of things is to plan in advance.

“I always stock up late fall to make sure I have plenty of Tamiflu on hand, make sure you have all of the cough syrups and the remedies that you need. It is the same thing every year so you get used to it,” Bonner said.

Bonner said this is one of the toughest flu seasons he has seen in some time, partly because of people having other conditions like COVID or RSV along with the flu.

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