Three female pharmacists wearing masks.

NACDS urges states to prepare for pharmacist-provided COVID-19 treatment, vaccines

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores this week made its most recent recommendations to governors and state executive teams, related to the current phase of COVID-19 response.

In letters that were customized to each state’s unique situation, NACDS included recommendations for leveraging pharmacies and pharmacists for the benefit of public health in the areas of COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine deployment, as well as full preparation for the upcoming flu season.

“Maintaining dialogue with the governors has been crucial at every stage of the ongoing COVID-19 response. NACDS’ most recent outreach comes as states are reopening and as they are looking ahead to a Fall season that will require simultaneous and ongoing preparedness for coronavirus and the flu. NACDS is urging action now for the benefit of public health and to help return the economy to strength,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.

NACDS recommended to each state specific actions related to important goals, including:

  • Scale and sustain COVID-19 testing through the engagement of pharmacies and pharmacists, and preventing any rollback from the level of pandemic preparedness that has been achieved.
  • Act now to prevent any delays in ensuring that pharmacies and pharmacists can aid in efficient deployment of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, when they become available. 
  • Maintain operational and pharmacy-practice flexibilities that have been put into place during the pandemic so pharmacies and pharmacists can focus on meeting patients’ needs – a strategy that remains important in anticipation of an early and compressed flu vaccination season.

NACDS has been in frequent communication with the states throughout the pandemic. This engagement has helped to create an environment in which pharmacies and pharmacists are increasingly empowered to address COVID-19-specific needs – such as testing. This engagement also has helped to bring about policies important for helping pharmacies to stay open during the pandemic, to foster the health and wellness of patients and staff, and to help patients stay on their medication therapies in the face of challenges including drug shortages and the need to practice physical distancing.  

More information about NACDS’ recommendations for public health and for reopening the nation in this next phase of pandemic response can be found in the report Pharmacies: A Vital Partner in Reopening America.