The National Community Pharmacists Association is sending the message to state and local health officials to work more closely with community pharmacists to accelerate the sputtering COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“Based on what we’re seeing, the vaccine rollout is going better in states where community pharmacists are key partners in the distribution,” said NCPA president Brian Caswell. “West Virginia and Arkansas are good examples, where state and local health departments are working closely with community pharmacists to reach more patients and satisfy the demand. They should be models for the rest of the country.”
With 21,000 community pharmacies in the United States, and most of these pharmacy small businesses already doing immunizations for other diseases, Caswell said, "The overwhelming majority want to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. Moreover, 79% are in communities with fewer than 50,000 people, according to NCPA research."
Caswell also noted that community pharmacists are often the only accessible health care provider in their communities.
“They have a presence almost everywhere, but they are especially important in hard-to-reach communities with underserved populations. We are urging state and local health departments to enlist the community pharmacies in their jurisdictions and give them a shot at administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Community pharmacies are a force multiplier. They also have a high degree of trust with their patients, and that’s critical for overcoming vaccine hesitancy,” said Caswell.