Sarah Lynch joined Binghamton University as a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and the director of skills education. She graduated with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and completed an ASHP-accredited PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency with Albertsons Companies and Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill.
Lynch practices at Wegmans Pharmacy in Johnson City, N.Y., where she participates in clinical services such as immunizations, medication therapy management, employee wellness services and community education. She has a strong interest in public policy that will elevate the role of the community pharmacist in New York state in areas such as contraceptive prescribing and provision of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-waived laboratory tests.
Lynch is active in several pharmacy organizations. She has served as a New York state delegate for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and is a reviewer for several APhA educational programs. She is a co-advisor of the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences student chapter of APhA-ASP.
6 important things to know about your COVID-19 vaccine card
Everyone who gets vaccinated for COVID-19 in the U.S. receives a vaccine card. Sarah Lynch, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, State University of New York, offers insight into why vaccine cards are important and why you should hold onto yours.
1. The cards serve as proof of inoculation against COVID-19.
Most clinics and pharmacies that administer any type of vaccine will provide some sort of documentation, and this card standardizes that process. The cards include the most important information about the vaccine, as well as the date and site where the doses were administered, and appointment dates for second doses – so they serve as a handy and efficient way for sites to share information with individuals coming in for their vaccine.
2. The cards contain important information about you and the vaccine you received.
The cards include personal information, such as name, date of birth, and medical record number (if applicable). But they also include important information about the vaccine administered – the manufacturer (Moderna, Pfizer, Janssen), the date administered, and the vaccination site. It also includes specific information about the specific shot you were given, like the lot number. This is important if an adverse event occurs and needs to be reported, because in rare instances these may be tied to a specific lot number. There is also a spot on the card to place the date of the second appointment, which helps with the scheduling logistics associated with the two dose mRNA vaccines.
3. They’re a good reminder.
In the short term, the cards provide us with a reminder of a second appointment for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. They also remind us of the dates administered, which will become especially important if it turns out that booster vaccines are needed at a certain point.
4. In the long term, the cards may serve to gain access to events and travel.
It can be compared to the vaccine requirements many colleges have for students and medical centers have for employees, where individuals must submit documentation of vaccination or antibody titers to certain infectious diseases.
5. You should take good care of your card.
Laminating can help keep the card in good condition. Certain office supply stores are laminating COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards for free. It is also recommended to scan a copy of the card for your own files, as a backup. Taking a picture of the front and back and saving it on a mobile device will mean that most people will have the card information on them at all times. Finally, some states are rolling out digital vaccine passport applications. These will allow the card information to be logged in a digital app that can be easily accessed on a mobile device and shared at events where documentation is required, eliminating the need to carry around the physical card.
6. If you lose your card, return to the site where you received the vaccination.
Those sites have records of all the information on the card and should be able to issue you a new card.15 April 2021
Pharmacists will play an important role in issuing the COVID-19 vaccine to the public, but that comes with challenges, said Sarah Lynch, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
“Pharmacists have been playing an important role in vaccination administration and immunization rates for years, and the COVID vaccine is no different,” said Lynch. “In these early distribution phases, pharmacists have been tasked with managing vaccine supply for healthcare systems, with many also managing allocation and administration to employees. We'll see an even greater pharmacist role as community/retail pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, grocery chains) start receiving their supplies in a widespread manner in the coming weeks.”
Currently, there's a shift in the type of pharmacist vaccinating: while community/retail pharmacists have typically handled the bulk of vaccinations, institutional and health systems pharmacists are expected to step up and administer immunizations within their healthcare systems. In some states, there are large proportions of pharmacists in these settings who are not yet trained, so there is high demand for immunization training programs,
While pharmacists are up to the challenge, it's not without its burdens, said Lynch.
“There are concerns, especially within chain pharmacies, about the increased workload of administering these vaccines,” said Lynch. “Certain larger chains have been granted contracts to manage administration at long-term care facilities. Some chains are hiring additional pharmacists to immunize, but in many cases staff have not been given details about whether additional help will be provided. With the current disorganized rollout process, it is unclear how pharmacies will be able to screen and triage individuals to receive the vaccine within the state-mandated guidelines. While it's exciting to be involved in such an important undertaking, the disorganization and enormous scale of the venture is weighing heavily on many pharmacists' minds.”7 January 2021