The current global pandemic has fostered and generated many thoughtful yet expedient changes to the national pharmacy landscape. In July, the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), and the California Retailers Association (CRA) submitted a joint letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting a waiver authorizing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests in community pharmacies.

Newsom issued an executive order granting this temporary authority in August.

“CPhA was pleased to work with NACDS and CRA in advocating on behalf of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to be granted authority to conduct COVID-19 tests. We understand that they key to returning back to work is dependent on testing” said Susan Bonilla, CEO, of the California Pharmacists Association.

The next thoughtful proposal in which pharmacy technicians can assist with mitigating COVID-19 infections is the administration of a vaccine in the community pharmacy settings.

In September of 2020, I composed and posted on Facebook’s “CPhT/PTech—Tech Talk” page, a straw poll to determine how pharmacy technicians in California feel about the education and training to administer immunizations to patients.

Thirty-five respondents voted “feel great about it,” 19 respondents voted “no way,” and 2 respondents voted as feeling “not so sure.” This small sample of respondents included some of the most vocal pharmacy technician leaders within California. In 6 other states, pharmacy technicians have been placed ahead of the curve in assisting their pharmacy teams with the task of vaccine administration.

The California Pharmacists Association had their virtual House of Delegates meeting in September. The delegation voted to approve that they will “support the education and training of pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines,” as well as, supporting “appropriately trained pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the direction and supervision of a pharmacist.”

This new policy is a positive one for encouraging the visibility and the promotion of pharmacy technicians to be working at the top of our licensure category.

“Walgreens applauds CPhA for taking a positive step in advancing the role of pharmacy technicians by adopting a policy statement that supports delegation of immunization administration to immunization trained pharmacy technicians. Advancement of the role of the pharmacy technician is a critical step to support additional immunization activities performed by community pharmacies,” said Anthony Perez, PharmD, California Regional Healthcare Director.

With pharmacists taking a more active stance on their clinical role with medication therapy management, well-educated and competent pharmacy technicians will be needed to meet the potential demand of 39.1 million Californians for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

About the Author
Paul Sabatini has 30 years of pharmacy experience in the practice settings of adult education, community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, pharmacy benefit management, transition of care analytics and publishing as well as, being a former private business owner. Sabatini has been a certified pharmacy technician since 2005. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management in 2012, and, his Masters of Arts degree in Adult Education and Training in 2014. He also holds a certificate in Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare. Paul currently serves as the co-chair of the CPhA Pharmacy Technician Special Interest Group and was recently awarded Pharmacy Technician of the Year by CPhA.

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