A chemist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto has resigned in protest of symptomatic COVID-19 testing at pharmacies, claiming he warned the firm he didn’t agree with the policy but was told to administer the tests regardless.
In early November, Michael Miranda learned of the intention to swab symptomatic patients and those feared of infection owing to close contact with a case, and he was instantly concerned that it posed a risk to everyone within his store.
“Whether a pharmacy is equipped to undertake this testing should be the view of the particular pharmacy,” Miranda informed CP24. “I believe there are occasions where pharmacists can undertake symptomatic testing,” he said, referring to proper PPE and swabbing outside. “However, this will result in more cases than it will uncover.”
He claims that he and his supervisor, who owns the franchise, raised concerns about symptomatic persons going through the store on their way to get a sample. They also highlighted concerns about ventilation, the usage of respirator masks, and doing COVID-19 vaccines and symptomatic testing in the same tight location.
Regardless, they were told to continue preparing for the tests. Symptomatic tests are intended to be done only by appointment, but Miranda claims that hasn’t prevented sick people from moving into the store and requesting a test on the spur of the moment.
“I’ve had face-to-face meetings with folks who have coughed on me, mentioning that, “I have COVID symptoms, please test me,'” Miranda said. Until mid-November, pharmacies could only swab patients without symptoms for travel considerations or perform asymptomatic monitoring tests on a limited number of sensitive groups.