Federal Retail Pharmacy Program an Encouraging Step in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Following the Biden administration’s announcement of the launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for distribution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, Steve Moore, PharmD, chairman of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, said the program will work alongside his state’s own rollouts to get shots in arms.
Moore said participants in the program range from large chains, such as CVS and Walgreens, to groups of grocery store pharmacies and groups such as the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network. During the soft rollout, Moore said each state will likely have just 2 or 3 federal partners, and those numbers will gradually increase.
Notably, Moore said the vaccination rollout, the increasing demand, and potentially growing supply have all forced pharmacies to evolve. For example, handling the number of patients seeking COVID-19 vaccines would be incredibly challenging without online scheduling or using paper consent forms.
“We’ve talked about an appointment-based model and what can we do to ease our workflow and to make it easier for our pharmacists and technicians to do their jobs, and this is a great example of how, you know, I need an online scheduling platform to make this easier for my staff. I need to have electronic screening and consent forms so that we’re not dealing with a bunch of paper that I could lose track of or may be handed to be from a potentially COVID-positive patient,” Moore said. “It’s forced us to rethink our practices and to re-engineer our processes, and I think it’s going to be a great thing for us going forward.”