New York law empowers pharmacists to vaccinate against COVID-19

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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New York's pharmacies will be a resource for the state once a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed and available. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed S. 8182-A / A. 10508-A. which adds COVID-19 to the list of illnesses for which pharmacists can vaccinate.

Community Pharmacy Association of New York State president and Noble Health Services president Mike Duteau and NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson issued the following joint statement:

“Now is the time to make sure that people will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it becomes available. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Brad Hoylman, and State Assemblymember Amy Paulin have demonstrated their commitment to preventing needless delay in protecting New Yorkers with a COVID-19 vaccine, and we thank them for their leadership. It is essential that all states continue to remove barriers for pharmacies to help meet the needs of patients during this phase of the pandemic.

“The H1N1 pandemic of 2009 taught the critical lesson that pharmacies and pharmacists play an irreplaceable role in vaccination campaigns, and since that time patients have come to know that they can obtain more and more of their vaccinations safely and conveniently at the pharmacy. A federal government study found that in a pandemic situation 80% of the U.S. population can be vaccinated seven weeks faster when pharmacies are involved. A poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found that 79% of New York State voters say pharmacists should be allowed to provide a COVID-19 vaccine.”

In addition to lauding New York State’s action on pharmacist-provided COVID-19 vaccinations, the associations are advancing important messages about other vaccinations:

The associations want New Yorkers to know that the CDC now advises that Americans continue to receive all of their recommended vaccinations – a practice that was suspended during the height of the pandemic to help with physical distancing.

The associations also urged New York State to maintain the operational flexibilities provided to pharmacies during the pandemic to help ensure pharmacies are well-prepared to meet patients’ demands during what is expected to be an early and compressed flu vaccination season.