Pharmacy orgs welcome Biden’s move to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to pharmacies

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Healthcare worker preparing a vaccine.

Pharmacy orgs welcome Biden’s move to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to pharmacies

By Sandra Levy - 02/02/2021

As the United States surpasses 26 million COVID-19 infections, President Joe Biden took additional steps Tuesday to implement his comprehensive national strategy to combat the pandemic. The plan includes the launch next week of the first phase of the federal pharmacy program in which select pharmacies nationwide will start offering vaccinations for their communities. CVS Health and Walgreens have already begun outlining their plans for the rollout next week. 

These new steps will help meet the President’s goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days and expand access to vaccines to more Americans in the coming weeks.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson issued the following statement following the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program launch, as described by White House COVID-19 Response coordinator Jeff Zients: “Today’s announcement is another crucial step forward to helping Americans get back to all we need and love – and we look forward to the program being ramped-up as vaccine supply increases. Trusted local pharmacies are ready to turn vaccine doses into vaccination appointments.

“We all know that vaccine supply remains the rate-limiting step at this time; yet the nation’s network of community pharmacies can readily meet the goal of giving 100 million vaccinations in one month assuming such supply is available. As White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients articulated so well today, 90% of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy and the nation’s 40,000 regional and national pharmacy locations are vital for scaling COVID-19 vaccinations. Pharmacies are key to giving COVID-19 vaccinations efficiently and equitably.

“We are so pleased to see the Biden Administration fulfill their pledge to commencing this program. We look forward to deploying the assets and expertise of pharmacies across America to protect the health and livelihoods of individuals, families, communities and the nation. We are deeply honored to be part of the Biden National Strategy for COVID Recovery.

“We also want to emphasize that by virtue of their extensive experience collaborating with public health, pharmacies also are key to standing up mass clinics and mobile clinics. Trusted pharmacy team members can contribute to the success of such clinics – and particularly helping to enhance vaccine confidence among all Americans.”

Anderson added, “Today’s announcement is another crucial step forward to helping Americans get back to all we need and love – and we look forward to the program being ramped-up as vaccine supply increases. Trusted local pharmacies are ready to turn vaccine doses into vaccination appointments."

Finally, Anderson said, “We all know that vaccine supply remains the rate-limiting step at this time; yet the nation’s network of community pharmacies can readily meet the goal of giving 100 million vaccinations in one month assuming such supply is available. As White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients articulated so well today, 90% of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy and the nation’s 40,000 regional and national pharmacy locations are vital for scaling COVID-19 vaccinations. Pharmacies are key to giving COVID-19 vaccinations efficiently and equitably."

The National Community Pharmacists Association released the following statement from CEO Doug Hoey: When independent pharmacies have access to the vaccine, they are able to quickly get the coronavirus shots in patients’ arms. We are encouraged by these efforts to accelerate vaccine distribution, and strongly encourage the administration and state policymakers to fully include small business pharmacies in their plans.

The American Pharmacists Association issued the following statement: “Pharmacy is ready, willing and able to expand its responsibility to vaccinate the communities we serve when the federal program is activated on Feb.11, 2021. We applaud the Biden administration’s efforts to work towards an adequate and predictable supply of vaccine. It will ultimately allow pharmacists to meet vaccination needs that will result in enhanced confidence in the vaccine, and protect against COVID-19 and its adverse consequencesTo successfully meet the president’s equity and access goals, multiple strategies will be necessary to reach all communities and all at-risk populations, utilizing community pharmacies of all kinds. We appreciate the Administration’s recognition of the value and role that pharmacists and members of the pharmacy team play across all of these strategies to be utilized.”