Using US Pharmacopeia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit for Vaccinations
Pharmacy Times® interviewed Nurisha Wade, MBA, vice president of global healthcare quality and safety center of excellence at US Pharmacopeia (USP), and Farah Towfic, PharmD, MBA, the director and CEO of operations at USP, on how the release of the COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit may help pharmacists quickly and safely vaccinate more people and use every dose available while maintaining quality.
The discussion included what the COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit is and how it addresses important efficiency gaps that may help pharmacists approach coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations, and how the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines may have highlighted inefficiencies that slowed the vaccination rollout.
Towfic explained that from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the infrastructure for the eventual distribution of COVID-19 vaccines was already present within health care systems.
“So, we have about 200 million doses of flu vaccine that are really put into the US marketplace every year, and we know the majority of those are distributed by [and] administered by pharmacists and other health care providers. What's unique now is the unprecedented scale, as well as the speed, in which we're really working to try and get these vaccines in arms, as well as the challenges of supply and demand,” Towfic said.
Additionally, due to the short supply of COVID-19 vaccines available in relation to the intensity of their demand, unprecedented situations emerged around their distribution, according to Towfic. The emergence of these situations caused USP to direct their attention toward addressing the needs of those administrating the vaccines in order to support them in accomplishing the task.
“So that's really where USP was able to hear from pharmacists, nurses, other health care practitioners on key gaps that can really help them become more efficient in the administration steps, and that's how we've really shaped our work as an independent scientific nonprofit,” Towfic said.
The discussion also included what else USP is working on to support quality COVID-19 vaccines, what other information the COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit may have that would be valuable to pharmacists, and work of note that USP is planning in the future that may be beneficial to pharmacies.