Pharmacists Advocating for COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Status
Pharmacy Times spoke with Michael Hogue, PharmD, president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), about the current push in Congress for pharmacists to gain provider status in the push for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.
Hogue said this status is vital for pharmacists to effectively provide access to the vaccine once it becomes available, particularly because pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and are able to administer the vaccine to many people very quickly. In addition, Hogue emphasized that pharmacists should get paid for this service similar to other health care professionals.
“There’s been a lot in the media about pharmacists doing [COVID-19] testing,” Hogue said. “However, what’s missing is that we’re asking pharmacists to do it for free. That doesn’t make sense, that’s inequitable.”
Congress is in the middle of discussing this issue, Hogue said, meaning pharmacists need to advocate for provider status immediately. Pharmacists should contact their representatives and encourage other health care professionals to do so as well, Hogue said. The APhA website offers a form that auto-writes an email to congressional representatives, urging them to authorize pharmacists as health care providers under Medicare Part B.