President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 plan to fully utilize pharmacies nationwide to hasten the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations is garnering praise from the industry. Both the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the American Pharmacists Association released statements in praise of the plan.
“We greatly appreciate President-elect Biden’s thoughtful and determined remarks and his pledge to ‘fully activate the pharmacies across this country to get the vaccinations into more arms as quickly as possible,’” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “As we have indicated, pharmacies can meet the demand for 100 million vaccinations in one month, assuming that level of vaccine supply is available. Ninety percent of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy.”
NACDS has been highlighting the potential for pharmacists to administer a big number of vaccines quickly, most recently with an ad campaign positioning pharmacies as ready to help get the country past the pandemic.
Scott Knoer, executive vice president and CEO of APhA, said that Biden’s plan to address the pandemic is a strong start to rescue the country from the pandemic. “It not only allocates billions of dollars to launch a sweeping national plan for national vaccination and testing, it also invests in public health workers for outreach and contact tracing, addresses health disparities, protects residents of long-term care facilities and workers in essential industries, and proposes billions for the administration of the vaccines,” he said.
“The incoming administration has stated that this is a race against time — and we agree. It is essential that this plan builds on utilizing the army of ready, willing and able pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns in all practice settings to accelerate the vaccination of all Americans," Knoer said. "Approximately 400,000 pharmacy personnel have been trained for precisely this moment, and now is the time to mobilize them.
Both organizations also signaled a willingness to work with the incoming administration based on shared goals.
“Of vital importance, we share President-elect Biden’s commitment to equity and to overcoming the healthcare disparities that have led to COVID-19’s disproportionate effects on some races and ethnicities and on our neighbors with particular vulnerabilities,” NACDS’ Anderson said. “Pharmacies and pharmacy teams are committed to enhancing vaccine access both in their stores, mass clinics and mobile clinics — as we have done in collaboration with public health during prior epidemics, pandemics and natural disasters, such as hurricanes. The trust of local pharmacists goes a long way in increasing vaccine confidence across all communities.”
APhA's Knoer said, “We look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his administration to maximize the use of pharmacists to defeat the pandemic, and to immunize and improve the health of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.”