With approximately 328 million people currently living in the United States, it will take an army of health care professionals to vaccinate the country against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In acknowledgement of the efforts necessary to help health care professionals prepare for the roll-out of a national vaccination campaign, Husson University announced that it will provide education to any licensed pharmacist, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled at Husson University.

Since pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and interns are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, Husson University is offering 2 nationally approved educational options to support these professionals in their efforts on the road ahead.

The first option available is a 6-hour course designed for pharmacy technicians. The course will show them how to not only administer the vaccine, but also respond appropriately to different emergencies that may arise in the pharmacy setting.

The second option is a 20-hour course available to licensed pharmacists and interns. This course will also educate its participants on how to administer the vaccines and respond to potential emergencies. It will also include information on the use of the different vaccines available, as well as their indications and contraindications.

“Husson University has traditionally worked with our clinical partners to provide flu shots in past years,” said Kelsie Snow, PharmD, an assistant professor at Husson University’s School of Pharmacy, in the press release. “This year, we are working in much the same way to provide the COVID vaccinations to as many people as we can.”

Due to the expected demand for COVID-19 vaccinations in the months to come, Husson University noted that it will be offering classes to members of the pharmacy community on a regular basis. The first class took place in-person at their Bangor, Maine campus on January 9.

Before attending the in-person component of the course, participants will be expected to complete some in-depth study at home. For further information on enrollment and the necessary components of the course, Kelsie Snow can be contacted at snowke@husson.edu.

Currently, Husson University is planning to offer these courses at least twice a month, although the university noted that it is willing to get more involved in communities by offering classes at a convenient time and location based on the needs of local pharmacies and hospitals.

“We are also looking into holding these courses in different locations around the state in order to minimize [the] need to travel. Maine is an awfully large state and we want to do all that we can to facilitate the response to the public health crisis,” Snow said in the press release.

The ability to administer vaccines is new for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Maine, as it was made possible by Congress in 2020 with the passage of the PREP Act. Before the PREP Act, pharmacy technicians were not authorized to administer vaccines to the public. Today, pharmacy technicians are able to receive the training necessary to provide this critical health care service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, recent legislation has expanded the types of vaccines that pharmacy personnel are able to both administer and order. Due to this legislation, pharmacy personnel can provide routine immunizations to children, which was previously only possible at the offices of pediatricians.

“Husson University has provided pharmacy students with training in providing immunizations for years. Now we’re expanding the training to get students involved earlier,” said Rhonda Waskiewicz, EdD, OTR (ret.), dean of the College of Health and Pharmacy at Husson University, in the press release. “Being educated as a healthcare professional in such a turbulent, unprecedented time is both challenging and rewarding. This process allows pharmacists to take a more active role in patient care. One of the major challenges posed by the restrictions of COVID-19 is restricted access to care, and this is one of the ways Husson is working to eliminate those barriers.”

REFERENCE
Building a Vaccination Army. Bangor, ME: Husson University; January 8, 2021. Accessed January 8, 2021. [email]