WBA Magazine

A tale of two pharmacists

Pharmacists Bhavika Mistry and Kate Latta each got their shot at administering the first COVID-19 vaccines for Boots UK and Walgreens.

By Tom Wall

Kate Latta vaccinates a patient

The themes of 2020 will be remembered for decades. From PPE and social distancing to essential workers and quarantine, we all have something we’ll never be able to forget from a year that gave the term “unprecedented,” well, a precedent. 

But as 2020 came to a close and 2021 began, a new theme emerged: hope.

And for two pharmacists – separated by an ocean and brought together for a common purpose – administering two milestone vaccinations for their respective nations will be something they remember for the rest of their lives.

Walgreens pharmacist Kate Latta learned in mid-December 2020 that she would be the first Walgreens pharmacist to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. At a senior care facility in Columbus, Ohio – just 10 minutes from her store – Latta would have the honor of giving a resident the first of what have now been more than 5 million doses administered by Walgreens so far.

“In seven years at Walgreens, this is my proudest moment,” Latta said, shortly after administering that first dose. “We're going to show the world, after a year of fear and uncertainty tied to this virus, that it’s pharmacists who will lead us out.”

In January, the hopeful news continued, as Boots UK launched its first COVID-19 vaccination centers in Halifax, Huddersfield and Gloucester. Boots pharmacist Bhavika Mistry was on hand to administer Boots’ first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Halifax.

“To have any part to play in this process has been a privilege, to be honest,” Mistry remarked, speaking at the clinic. “To be administering these vaccines, to get our society back to a new normal, so people can see their friends and family.”

In the two videos below, you can see Kate and Bhavika’s milestone moments, and hear directly from each of them what it meant to play a part in returning each of their countries – and the world – back to normal: