Pharmacy U

Canada’s vaccine rollout: Pavithra Ravinatarajan – seeing the best in each other

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by Pavithra Ravinatarajan RPh


I work as a part time pharmacist at my region’s public health units. It’s not always the most interactive role where I get to get needles into arms, but it’s really given me the appreciation of how a community can rally together to support one another.  Most of days have been spent drawing up needles, though I have had a few shifts where I have been able to immunize.


In our clinic every person seems to support each other. From recognizing when someone needs a break, training anyone new and generally supporting the patients who have come for their vaccinations. Patients and family can be confused, and each person has taken the initiative to understand how to interact with patients in any situation. It’s true, it’s not always smooth but everyone has a smile on their face.


For such an agile project with constant learnings the setup and structure from those executing is wonderful. Always open to improvements and learnings as well as general feedback from staff. They have really taken the Lean Six Sigma and Agile approach. Processes have been separated into pods with subject experts and team leads to really support all staff and filter out questions and manage small groups.


From a more personal side it helps bring about the hope that brighter days are ahead. Though it may not be soon people understand the importance of being vaccinated and have seen how things can go wrong when we forget about the importance of health and public safety.


One of the most memorable moments for me was when immunizing an older woman who was so grateful to be immunized. When speaking with her, as I do with many patients, I asked: What was the first thing she wanted to do once everyone was immunized? In my mind, travel, eating out, entertainment have usually been what I have heard. She mentioned to hug her great granddaughters. She had mentioned that the toughest part over the last year was that she hadn’t been able to hug and watch them grow. She had gone from seeing them almost daily to just having video calls. What I’ll always take away from what she said was “a kiss just wasn’t a kiss when you can’t feel her lips.”


If this experience reminds us all of anything it is that as people, we are remarkable. We can innovate, create, and come together to accomplish great things. But that it is also as people we appreciate things in life…each other.


Pavithra Ravinatarajan RPh is the founder and CEO of  Pavithra Consulting Inc