The moment many of us have been waiting for over the past nine months has finally arrived. On Monday, December 14, 2020, the administration of the first Covid-19 vaccines began across the country. It is a milestone for the U.S. and a sign of hope as our country aims to gain control over the Covid-19 virus. While we are still very early on in this process and much is still to be determined, one thing is for certain. The process of administering a Covid-19 vaccine to the general population will be nothing short of a huge effort. So, what might this mean for those people who work in various Allied Health careers? Well, our team is breaking that down today, and sharing some of our thoughts on what the future may hold for several of these occupations.
While the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine will be determined by each state individually, it has been thought that retail pharmacy chains will help play a role in administering the vaccine. In fact, in November, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the U.S. government’s partnerships with large chain pharmacies and networks to help increase access to future Covid-19 vaccines.
In addition, pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS have already come out and said they plan on hiring more Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in anticipation of their involvement with administering the Covid-19 vaccine. Pharmacy Technicians play an important role in the day to day operations of a pharmacy. They can be found performing duties such as assisting customers and collecting info to fill prescriptions. They may also assist pharmacists in tasks such as measuring medication, packaging, and labeling prescriptions. If retail pharmacy chains play a role in distributing a Covid-19 vaccine, Pharmacists may rely more heavily on Pharmacy Technicians due to the increased workload they may experience.
While the initial distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is happening in many hospitals across the country, as time goes, physicians’ offices may play a key role in administering the vaccine. These offices already help administer vaccinations such as the flu vaccine that many receive each year.
As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available to the general public, there will be a need for more vaccination sites. This could include local doctors’ offices and clinics. Medical Assistants are already found playing an instrumental role in keeping these practices running smoothly. Medical Assistants perform duties such as recording a patient’s personal info and their health history. They also measure vitals, give injections, draw blood, and perform tests such as EKGs. If local doctors’ offices begin to offer the Covid-19 vaccine in the future, they will likely see an increase in traffic as many choose to receive their vaccine at these locations out of convenience. If this is the case, Doctors may rely more heavily on their Medical Assistants to help with the increased traffic and workload in their offices.
Similar to Medical Assistants, those who work in Medical Administration and Billing play a key role in helping healthcare practices run smoothly. These professionals may perform a variety of tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, data entry, as well as medical billing and coding.
As the general population begins to get vaccinated, this process will require a very coordinated effort at all levels. This includes local sites (whether they be hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ offices) to help coordinate everything that needs to happen. From scheduling patients to updating records to communicating with insurance companies, Medical Administration and Billing professionals are sure to play an important role in helping coordinate this effort locally from behind the scenes.
So What Does This Potentially Mean Long-Term for Careers in Allied Health?
While there are some questions that still need to be answered, medical experts think that the Covid-19 vaccine may require a “booster” at some point in time in the future. Dr. Anthony Fauci shared with CBS News recently that while it’s currently unclear how often we will need to get a booster, he would be surprised if the Covid-19 vaccine provided lifelong immunity. That means each of us would be making subsequent trips over time to receive our Covid-19 vaccine ‘booster,’ which will continue to drive traffic to healthcare facilities. With this increased traffic, one can only assume that the need for allied health professionals and the role they play could continue to be of great importance.