It has been well known for some time that along with massive disruption to the way you have had to operate as a pharmacist, Covid-19 has shown us what we really can do with technology. Home deliveries, Health mail, apps, and all the rest of it have opened new doors for the community pharmacist, notwithstanding the value of face-to-face patient consultations. But somewhere along the way, we may have created a monster.

Prior to Covid, many of us will have used Amazon only occasionally, but that all changed last year (at terrible expense to many local small businesses). Earlier this year, Forbes reported that in 2020 alone, Amazon posted a record profit performance, with annual revenue up 38 per cent, to an eye-watering $386 billion. It is now the second-largest US retailer, second only to Walmart. Business is so good that Amazon had to go shopping itself, specifically for 11 Boeing 767 passenger jets that are being converted to cargo planes.

The UK arm of the company announced recently that “the British are ready for Amazon Pharmacy,” adding that “the company can rely on its customer intimacy and awareness” in offering OTC products and therapies. Pharmacists, doctors and nurses could teach Amazon a thing or two about customer intimacy and awareness, but I’ll resist the urge to deconstruct every sentence of this particular press communication.

The company states that according to a survey of 1,000 people it conducted recently, “it is only a matter of time before Amazon leverages its already registered trademark and also launches Amazon Pharmacy, which will have an even greater impact on the market”. The survey showed that among UK customers who are already Amazon Prime users, “47 per cent would choose the company’s pharmacy platform for drug purchase”.

The results also revealed that 10 per cent of customers who currently do not buy regularly from Amazon said they will use Amazon Pharmacy once it becomes available in the UK.

This, it said, can “quickly lead to 20 million potential British customers for Amazon Pharmacy in one fell swoop. It would immediately gain a significant market share and be among the top online pharmacies in the UK.” The next statement, I found a little ominous: “Existing platforms and pharmacies must get prepared and find a way to retain their existing customers and take advantage of their omnichannel presence.” That line had a ring of
Don Corleone to it.

If this is going on in the UK, you can bet your life that Ireland is on the radar. But Amazon, like anything else, is best used in moderation in the pharmacy context. Amazon is great in small doses, but as you well know, ‘the poison is in the dose’.

Thar an gcuntar as gaeilge

Mar shaineolaithe ar chógais, táimid an-eolach ar fad ar theorainneacha na vacsaíní, go háirithe orthu siúd a úsáidtear chun SARS-CoV-2 a chóireáil, tar éis aird chomh géar a thabhairt ar na sonraí a scaoileadh le 18 mí anuas. Mar sin féin, ní mór dúinn ionchais agus tuiscint an phobail i gcoitinne a chur san áireamh. Spreagtar ceannlínte le déanaí imní sna daoine a fheiceann iad.

Seo sampla inar féidir le Cógaiseoirí agus foireann Cógaisíochta imní a mhaolú agus oideachas a chur orthu siúd a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ag cuardach freagraí. Seo thíos príomhphointí le cuimhneamh agus tú ag tabhairt aghaidh ar na ceisteanna seo – má thagann siad aníos.

Tá figiúirí an-geallta ó shonraí an domhain réadaigh maidir le vacsaíní. Mar shampla, tá vacsaín AstraZeneca 92 faoin gcéad éifeachtach agus fuarthas go bhfuil an vacsaín Pfizer éifeachtúlacht 96 faoin gcéad i gcoinne an ospidéil.

Tá rolladh amach vacsaín na hÉireann imithe ó neart go neart agus an líon is airde daoine vacsaínithe in aghaidh an 100 daonra, i 7 lá ar domhan i lár mhí Iúil. Ciallaíonn sé seo, cé go bhfuil daonra na ndaoine nach bhfuil
vacsaínithe fós thart ag 1.7 milliún, tá i bhfad níos mó daoine in Éirinn atá vacsaínithe ná neamh-vacsaínithe

Chomh maith le coinníollacha a bhaineann le haois, is dóichí go mbeidh vacsaíniú iomlán orthu siúd a ligfear isteach san ospidéal le deacrachtaí mar thoradh ar ionfhabhtú. (Riail ordóige arís agus arís eile agus mé ag léamh ná go bhfuil an riosca céanna ag duine vacsaínithe 80 bliain d’aois agus atá ag duine 50 bliain gan vacsaín.)

Is é an chéad phointe eile is tábhachtaí le cur i gcuimhne don othar ná go bhfuil na vacsaíní thar a bheith éifeachtach maidir le breoiteacht throm agus bás a chosc fiú i gcásanna ina bhfuil gá le hospidéal. Mar shampla, sa Ríocht Aontaithe roimh oll-vacsaíniú, ba é an ráta báis sna daoine a ligtear isteach san ICU ná thart ar 1 as 50. Faoiláthair agus in ainneoin na toinne le déanaí mar thoradh ar an leagan Delta, tá an figiúr sin tite go dtí thart ar 1 as 1000.

Tá na sonraí a bhaineann le vacsaíní agus a n-éifeachtúlacht níos mó ná suntasaí. Ciallaíonn ár ról mar ghairmithe go gcaithfimid tús a chur le hoideachas a thabhairt dóibh siúd atá ag lorg faisnéise. Trína chinntiú go bhfuil faisnéis gonta agus cothrom le dáta againn is féidir linn imní agus eagla a chosc sna pobail a ndéanaimid
freastal orthu.