Pharmacists Are Well-Positioned to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccinations
A new survey shows sky-high interest by pharmacists in delivering coronavirus vaccines when they are approved.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)’s announcement on August 31, 2020, finds that 86 percent of community pharmacists say they plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.
Currently, there are several SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates in late-stage studies in the USA, with significant, pent-up consumer demand awaiting their approval by the U.S. FDA.
“Community pharmacists are already doing immunizations, so this is a natural expansion of the healthcare services they’re already providing,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, in a related press statement.
And pharmacists are located in markets where they are needed most. Almost 80 percent of community pharmacists operate in places with fewer than 50,000 people.
“A big takeaway from the survey is that community pharmacists are highly mobile. Their reach goes far beyond the brick and mortar of their pharmacy and most are more than willing to go wherever they can do the most good,” said Hoey.
“Community pharmacies are concentrated in places where there are not very many other pharmacies or healthcare providers,” said Hoey. “Penetrating those medically underserved communities will be a challenge for public health officials. What this data shows is that community pharmacies must be part of the solution.”
A previous, unrelated study, published on August 6, 2020, concluded that opening clinics explicitly dedicated to treating influenza can limit the number of people infected and help to “flatten the curve,” or reduce the peak prevalence rate.
The researchers found that opening clinics reduced disease spread and hospitalizations, particularly when open during the periods of peak prevalence – when most people are sick.
While this study focused on influenza, the findings are relevant for policymakers seeking ways to reduce the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
And on August 19, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services authorized pharmacists to administer vaccines to children as young as 3, including the flu vaccine, a step that makes immunization more convenient for parents.
Note: This NCPA survey is based on 799 responses to a survey sent to 10,000 pharmacy owners/managers from Aug. 18-27. NCPA is the country's largest organization of independent pharmacy owners.
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