Answering the call for hand sanitizer, South Shore Health creates its own
The South Shore Health Pharmacy team has developed a DIY process to replenish much-needed hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Using a blend of ingenuity, teamwork, and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), our pharmacy group has implemented a creative and efficient method for making homemade hand sanitizer for colleagues on the front lines,” said Chief Pharmacy Officer Kristopher Young. “It started on March 15 when the Commissioner of Public Health issued an order allowing Massachusetts pharmacies and pharmacists to compound hand sanitizer over the counter (“OTC”)."
"When this came out, I rallied our team together to come up with a way to manufacture this hand sanitizer using materials available to us as a health system pharmacy.”
Operations Manager Jason St. Amour took an online formula from WHO and applied his own creative manufacturing touch to the process. Using a blend of Isopropyl Alcohol (75%) to kill off bacteria and viruses, hydrogen peroxide (0.125%) to kill any mold spores in the alcohol, and Glycerin to act as a moisturizer, St. Amour and his colleagues mixed the concoction together in containers he purchased from a national hardware chain, while using standard pharmacy compounding instruments.
“Not only are these containers the perfect size for mixing the 10 liter batches, but the pouring spout acts as a dispenser for transferring the formula into the smaller beakers, which are then used to fill each four-ounce bottle,” said St. Amour. “Each batch makes about 75 bottles, and our team has made 10 batches to date — or 750 bottles — which we will begin distributing throughout the health system this week. Our next manufacturing task for the week is to devise a way to refill our wall-mounted dispensers across the campus."
The team will continue to contribute to the health system’s supply chain as long as the major ingredient, isopropyl alcohol, is available.
Meanwhile, local distilleries are also creating and donating their own brand of hand sanitizer using ethanol, the same ingredient used to make potent spirits like vodka, rum, gin, and tequila.
To date, South Shore health has received donations of 10 gallons each from Dirty Water Distillery in Plymouth and Boston Harbor Distillery in the Neponset/Dorchester section of Boston. St. Amour’s team plans to repackage these donated gallons into 4 ounce bottles, which will also be distributed across the health system.
Please click here to donate to South Shore Health’s personal protection equipment needs or sanitizing products.