Expert: Pharmacists Are ‘Eager and Willing’ to Vaccinate Eligible Children Against COVID-19

Hannah Fish, PharmD, associate director of strategic initiatives at NCPA, discusses the role of the pharmacist in vaccinating children ages 12 and older against COVID-19 following the FDA updating the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine EUA.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Hannah Fish, PharmD, associate director of strategic initiatives at the National Community Pharmacists Association, on the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout following the FDA updating the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization to be expanded to include children ages 12 years and older.

Alana Hippensteele: What is the role of the pharmacist in vaccinating this new age group against COVID-19?

Hannah Fish: Yeah, I mean the pharmacist has been critical in all steps of health care for many reasons, and they have been part of this pandemic from the get-go. They're eager and willing to help answer questions and provide care.

When you think about who people want to get vaccinated from, frequently there are many surveys that have cited that patients want to receive care and receive the vaccine from either their local health care provider or at the pharmacy. They really want to get that level of support and have that level of trust with their local providers, and that includes the pharmacist.

So, really, when people are hesitant or unsure or have questions, they're looking to the people in the community that they already trust, and that includes the local community pharmacist.

So, we are there as that backstop, we're there to answer those questions, we're there to be the person that can give you the answers that these patients are looking for. The pharmacist's role is being that trusted provider and helping to answer those questions and being able to meet patients where they are too.

We often think about the pharmacist behind the counter, and pharmacists have been delivering vaccines to patients in their homes, so if you can't get to the pharmacy or you can't get to a mass clinic site, pharmacists are able to go to patients’ homes and make sure that these vulnerable patients are taken care of.

Likewise, pharmacists are able to work with schools and communities—especially with this new population that's eligible—to go to the school gymnasium and host an event and do a mass clinic. They're prepared for this really tremendous opportunity for pharmacists to be involved in this.

Alana Hippensteele: Absolutely, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today, Hannah.

Hannah Fish: Absolutely, thank you.