APhA Applauds Expansion of Activated Pharmacies in National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy

March 30, 2021
Alana Hippensteele, Editor

The Biden administration has moved to activate 40,000 local pharmacies within the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which is a part of the administration’s national COVID-19 vaccination strategy.

The Biden administration has moved to activate 40,000 local pharmacies within the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which is a part of the administration’s national COVID-19 vaccination strategy. This action will allow Americans to have access to COVID-19 vaccines in these additional pharmacy locations by April 19.

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) released a statement applauding this decision, noting that the activation is a huge step toward achieving the Biden administration’s new goal of 200 million shots in arms within Biden’s first 100 days in office.

“President Biden did the nation a huge favor by more than doubling the number of pharmacies that will receive COVID-19 vaccines under the federal program,” said APhA executive vice president and CEO Scott J. Knoer, in the statement. “For so many of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, pharmacies’ full participation in COVID-19 vaccination efforts could mean the difference between life and death.”

Currently, with approximately 90% of Americans living within 5 miles of a pharmacy, accessibility to pharmacies, particularly in rural and underserved areas, will be a strategic benefit to the national COVID-19 vaccination strategy. Prior to the expansion, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program was already supporting vaccination efforts in the highest-need neighborhoods, with 45% of pharmacies in the program serving these areas.

“The government can count on pharmacies to be not only key vaccination access points, but also sources of public education,” Knoer said in the statement. “Pharmacists can answer questions about the vaccine, dispel myths, extend public health messaging, help boost vaccine confidence, and address hesitation to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Approximately 400,000 pharmacists in locations throughout the country have been specifically trained to vaccinate patients, with additional support provided by tens of thousands of pharmacy technicians on staff who have completed immunization training programs. Following the federal government’s expansion of pharmacy technicians’ practice authorities during the pandemic, thousands seized the opportunity to become trained for this specific task.

“There is no possible way to swiftly immunize every person and every community in the nation without pharmacies,” Knoer said in the statement. “Pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians have the bona fides, the willingness, and the passion to get us across the finish line.”

REFERENCE

White House’s expansion of pharmacy vax program brings COVID-19 goals closer to reality. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association; March 29, 2021. [email] Accessed March 30, 2021.