Pharmacists facing acute thermometer shortage

Pharmacists facing acute thermometer shortage
Illustration image. Credit: Belga/Loan Silvestre

An acute shortage of thermometers is seeing pharmacists struggle to keep up with a significant surge in demand, the Association of Pharmacists Belgium (APB) warned.

"Digital thermometers are nowhere to be found," Lieven Zwaenepoel of the APB told De Standaard. "Infrared thermometers even less so."

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Zwaenepoel said that the coronavirus pandemic had seen people rush to snatch up new thermometers or to replace old ones, with fever being among coronavirus symptoms listed by global and national health authorities.

Following the shortages of sanitising gel and face masks at the beginning of the pandemic, the shortage of thermometers comes as lockdown regulations are lifted and people in Belgium are allowed to slightly widen their social contacts.

Zwaenepoel said that the shortages of hand gel and face masks had been creatively tackled, as hospital workers and ordinary citizens began sewing reusable masks and breweries and distilleries switched production to sanitising hand gel.

Shortages of paracetamol, a pain killer whose sales surged after there were warnings about the use of ibuprofen by coronavirus patients, have also been addressed and stocks replenished.

But Zwaenepoel said that pharmacists had no fix for the immediate-term regarding the current shortage of thermometer, saying that the APB saw no solution before June at the latest.

"Fortunately, many people still have a working thermometer somewhere," Zwaenepoel said.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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