ANDERSON — Staffing shortages at hundreds of retail pharmacies across the country have left customers with long waits to have prescriptions filled and, in some cases, needing to reschedule COVID-19 vaccine or booster shots.
In Madison County, temporary closures have been reported at CVS Pharmacy outlets in Anderson and Alexandria. On multiple occasions, the line at the drive-thru pharmacy window at one store in Anderson was counted at more than a dozen vehicles, and on Thursday morning the window was shuttered with a sign noting the closure due to short staffing.
Like many other retailers, pharmacies are finding it difficult to keep pace with demand in a constricted labor market.
“We recognize the tight retail labor market which may result in some staffing issues,” a CVS spokesman said in an email. “Our ability to deploy teams to support stores that are understaffed, decisions about hours, workflow process, technology enhancements and other operational factors are made to ensure we have appropriate resources in place at each pharmacy.”
Industry experts note that staffers at retail pharmacies are in some cases being asked to perform COVID-19 tests and administer COVID vaccines in addition to their other responsibilities. The increased workload may be spurring some pharmacists to leave while discouraging some would-be applicants.
In a statement, CVS Health indicated that a recent national hiring initiative was aimed at stemming staffing shortfalls during the fall, a normally busy flu shot season. The company said it filled 25,000 clinical and retail positions during the event, including 475 jobs in Indiana.
“Throughout the pandemic, our employees have continued to serve as a critical resource for health care services, prescriptions, vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and other products and supplies in communities like Central Indiana at a time when they’re needed most,” the spokesman said. “As our employees continue to be there for our customers, we’re adding to our talent pool to provide them with even greater support.”