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Pharmacy 53 staff delivering the goods

Pharmacy 53's newly refitted store has proved its worth in the Covid-19 lockdown, says owner Nigel Campbell.

Their Covid-19 precautions involve checking people on their health condition and travel history at the door before allocating them to a staff member to help them with their needs.

No browsing is allowed.

Because of the refit, the point-of-sale positions are set well apart, well beyond the two metre gap required by social distancing.

“The refit was fortunately a matter of great timing,” said Mr Campbell.

Surfaces are cleaned every hour and staff must wear gloves.

Face masks are optional but most staff wear both masks and gloves.

Initially staff had felt some anxiety.

“This was understandable as prompt guidance from pharmacy authorities for the retail pharmacy setting was sadly lacking,” said Mr Campbell.

“Some of our retail staff are not working but those who are have done an amazing job in difficult circumstances.”

The pharmacy has been delivering prescriptions in large numbers.

One staff member spent eight hours delivering prescriptions to more than 50 addresses on the Thursday before Easter

Prescriptions were also delivered over Easter weekend.

“This is a free service, it's something we do,” said Mr Campbell.

“It's our way of saying we can help.”

Pharmacy 53 is one of several Gisborne pharmacies where staff are trained to administer the influenza vaccine.

The number of vaccines given is “way up” and more than 500 have been completed since the flu vaccination season opened

The public seemed well aware of the importance of immunisation, said Mr Campbell.

Flu vaccinations, funded by the Ministry of Health, can only be given to those aged over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.

Vaccinating pharmacies can also vaccinate healthcare workers, but that has to be paid for by the health worker or their employer.

Those people eligible can “walk in” without an appointment, if they are well.

People can be vaccinated in the carpark if they do not wish to come into the store, but need to phone ahead to arrange it.

Vaccines for all others over the age of 13 open on April 27, while under 13s are vaccinated by their GP.

Mr Campbell said the pharmacy was still trading with unchanged hours from before the lockdown began.

It was important to provide simplicity and consistency for the public at this time, he said.

TO THE DOOR: Pharmacist Nigel Campbell, seen here with Lynette Howard, who is in charge of stock merchandise and delivery at Pharmacy 53, have been flat out making sure essential medicines are delivered to customers. Picture by Liam Clayton