NACDS’ Anderson invited to join HHS’ federal vaccine consultation panel
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson has been invited by the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to serve on HHS’ new COVID-19 Vaccine Consultation Panel.
In their invitation to Anderson, HHS said, “Producing a (COVID-19) vaccine is one piece of the task—but another equally critical component is ensuring public understanding, acceptance, and participation in any eventual vaccine campaign. It is on this later challenge that I and our senior leaders in HHS could use your unique insight and expertise. We are formulating a Vaccine Consultation Panel made up of external leaders who bring insight into distinct communities critical for the launch of the vaccine.”
HHS continued, “The VCP would assist the Department and would be a conduit for two-way communication. Participants would receive periodic updates from key leaders in the Department on our progress in the development and distribution planning of a vaccine. Conversely, each VCP member would share the questions, concerns, and needs of their constituencies with the Department leaders. The goal of the VCP is not to reach ‘consensus,’ but to better understand how we can reach and educate our citizens with a successful vaccine campaign."
NACDS said its representation on the Vaccine Consultation Panel is another example of the strong trust Americans place in pharmacies and pharmacists — underscoring the irreplaceable role pharmacies play in effective pandemic response.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to participate on HHS’ forthcoming Vaccine Consultation Panel on behalf of NACDS,” said Anderson. “Maximizing pharmacy’s preparedness and impact throughout the pandemic is critical to the national response – there is a pharmacy within five miles of 90% of all Americans, and the accessibility of these health destinations will prove essential for the fast and efficient rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as for the rapidly approaching need to vaccinate for the flu and to help Americans return to their normal vaccination schedules. In a pandemic situation — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — 80% of the nation can be vaccinated seven weeks sooner when pharmacists are included in a vaccination plan.”
In addition to anticipating an appropriately significant role in the deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacies also are preparing for what is expected to be an early, compressed and high-demand flu vaccination season. In addition, pharmacies are helping patients return to their regular vaccination schedules, as recommended by public health authorities