Groups of Covid anti-vaxxers intimidate pharmacy staff

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Groups of Covid anti-vaxxers intimidate pharmacy staff

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said some of its members have been subjected to verbal abuse and intimidation in their pharmacies by groups of people intent on stopping them administering Covid vaccines.

Attempts to disrupt the vaccination service pharmacies provide include pharmacists being insulted, told they are breaking the law and warned they will injure their patients if they give them a vaccine.

The PDA said it has not received any reports that weapons have been used by anti-vaxxers or that staff have been subjected to physical violence but said there were continuing concerns for their safety inside and outside their pharmacies.

“So far, we’ve had no reported cases of use or threats with a weapon or of physical assault but what some members have experienced is groups of people or in some cases individuals coming into the pharmacy giving verbal abuse and being intimidating,” a PDA spokesperson told Independent Community Pharmacist.

“Pharmacists are being called names, told that they are breaking the law, that they are injuring patients and that they will face the consequences, etc.”

The PDA said intimidation has also been dished out by individuals as well as groups and urged pharmacy teams to report verbal abuse to police even in the absence of physical aggression.

“We understand that pharmacists subject to these incidents may become more concerned for their personal safety at future dates or while they are outside of the pharmacy,” the spokesperson said.

“Thankfully there have not been huge numbers reported to the PDA, but each incident that has happened is an incident too many. We encourage members to report such occurrences to the police and to their management.”

The PDA also urged pharmacy employers to “take all reasonable steps to protect the safety of their staff and of other customers/patients in their premises.”

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