For a pharmacist at the NC Community Vaccination Center, the recipe is simple: Multi-capable Airmen.
With a team of three pharmacy technicians, 10 medics, a personnel specialist, and a communications technician, these Airmen have created a system rooted in teamwork that’s allowed them to meet their daily goals.
“It’s beautiful because it’s a product of what the Air Force produces,” said Capt. Anthony Federico, deployed pharmacist assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. “If you walk into the pharmacy now you can’t tell who the pharmacist is or who the pharmacy technicians are because we’re all just a part of the pharmacy and we’re here to get the job done.”
The Airmen working in the Pharmacy were deployed from bases across the Air Force to Greensboro joining a team of approximately 139 members and were trained for their new jobs.
“We trained them. Even if we have someone whose job is being a runner or updating the boards, they all know what to do so they can come in and help where needed, which is neat,” said Staff Sgt. Andrea Esparza, deployed pharmacy technician assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va.
Esparza says, the key to getting everyone to perfect their craft in a short amount of time has been ensuring the vials are always reconstituted and prepared in the same structured manner.
“We don’t want to make mistakes,” said Esparza. “I feel like it’s really helping everything go smoothly because the doctor can easily see where everyone is in the process at all times. For instance, the way we arrange our table have vaccines on the left, which are ready for use. When the doctor comes by they can start verifying them.”
The lessons learned by the group have been the driving force behind their operation such as creating standardized work stations and a detailed tracking system for prepared vaccine.
“We really fine-tuned the operation … and that’s all thanks to the people that I have,” said Federico. “They’re all doing all that they can. I have people getting vaccines ready and then once they’re ready they take it to where it needs to go. Everyone is doing all of the different jobs and most importantly they’re doing it while staying safe.”
Federico says the pharmacy is always the unspoken hero in medical facilities but at the CVC the team can readily see their importance by the amount of support they receive from leadership and the satisfaction of helping others.
“When this pandemic hit, I was right off the bat asking how can I help,” said Federico. “Now, I get to come out here every day with my team and help at least 3,000 people a day and it’s just amazing. It’s such as great mission here and I’m just so thankful that the Air Force has given us this opportunity to help.”
U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing continued, flexible Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.