NCPA: Local pharmacies need more vaccine supply to serve communities
As independent pharmacies begin to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines, the National Community Pharmacists Association is noting that they need more vaccine supply to accelerate the rate of vaccination. The organization noted that independent pharmacies are particularly vital in hard-to-reach areas.
“Independent pharmacists are located in communities of all population sizes including rural communities, urban neighborhoods, and immigrant communities that are harder to reach,” said Doug Hoey, NCPA CEO. “The quickest and most effective way to distribute the vaccines in those communities is to rely on the pharmacists who know them best."
Hoey pointed out that 56.8% of immunizing independent pharmacies serve communities that rank high or very high on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index. The index measures such factors as poverty, lack of transportation, and crowded housing to identify communities that need extra support during public crises. In rural areas, where public transportation is scant and there are few health care providers, local community pharmacies are critical. The same is true in many urban neighborhoods where poverty rates are high and immigrant communities must often overcome language barriers.
“There’s a high level of commitment on their part, and a high level of trust among their patients,” Hoey said. “That’s exactly what we need right now to bring the vaccine to these communities.”
NCPA noted that supply is an ongoing hurdle for independents looking to offer its patients COVID-19 vaccines. “When given access to the vaccine supply, these local pharmacists are able to quickly and efficiently administer vaccines to patients in their communities," the organization said.