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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

'We're going to need all the help we can get' | Thousands of jobs open at Texas drug stores

More manpower is needed at the drug stores to get ready for the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

AUSTIN, Texas — Pharmacies across Texas could use your help.

More people will soon qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine, and more manpower is needed at the drug stores.

“My job is to be there first for the patient,” said Elliot Lozano, a pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy technicians hold a state license. The job does not require a college degree, but it does require training. The classwork can be done through several schools, colleges and universities either in person or online.

Texas requires all technicians to pass an exam from either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) Certificate Number.

“Pharmacy tech is really the entree into health care for a lot of people,” Jeffrey Lackey, CVS Health’s vice president of talent acquisition, said.

All pharmacy techs must also clear a background check.

“We're kind of the support system of the pharmacy,” Lozano said.

That support system needs to grow, said John Fratamico. He oversees 19 stores for the West Texas district of CVS Health.

“Every day we continue to grow our ranks,” Fratamico said.

He wants pharmacists to focus more on patient consultation, which means more help needed from people like Lozano.

Depending on the job, hazard pay may be an incentive given by some companies.

“We're calling it 'hero pay' for the folks going into the long-term care facilities,” Lackey said.

“In the past, there was really heavy on filling prescriptions. But now in the midst of the pandemic ... we're really involved on the front line,” Lozano said.

CVS has around 2,800 jobs open in Texas. The positions include managers, retail sales, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

"We're prepared. Now, the reason why we continue to hire is to ramp up for when [the COVID-19 vaccine] goes to the general public," Monica Prinzing, CVS Health senior communications consultant, said.

“Everyone's looking for a way to help during this time,” added Lozano.

Walgreens pharmacy has another 1,200 jobs available. And store pharmacies like H-E-B and Walmart need manpower.

"H-E-B has more than 1,000 registered vaccinators across the state ready to administer the vaccine. Additionally, as the largest privately-owned employer in Texas, we’re always looking to hire great talent,” said Tamra Jones, public affairs manager of H-E-B Central Texas region.

“We're going to need all the help we can get,” Lozano said.

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