Frontline Health Care Workers Are Helping to Shape COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit Resources

March 25, 2021

Farah Towfic, PharmD, MBA, director, CEO operations at US Pharmacopeia (USP), discusses USP’s release of an updated version of its COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit in response to feedback from independent pharmacies to mass vaccination clinics.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Farah Towfic, PharmD, MBA, the director, CEO operations at US Pharmacopeia (USP), on USP’s release of an updated version of its COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit in response to receiving feedback from those on the frontlines of the vaccination process, from independent pharmacies to mass vaccination clinics.

During the discussion, Towfic explained what the updates to the vaccine toolkit address and what feedback was given by frontline health care workers to cause these specific updates to be made.

Towfic noted that USP greatly appreciates the feedback health care workers have been willing to provide because it has helped the organization pinpoint content and ensure that what they're providing is helpful to frontline vaccine providers.

“We've been in a position to be able to provide almost real-time updates based on the information that's available to our scientific expert committee volunteers, who have been able to be very directly involved in vaccine preparation and handling for thousands across the US,” Towfic said.

Specifically, Towfic explained that since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine, and Moderna and Pfizer are both a 2-dose vaccine series, USP wanted to be sure to help vaccine providers pinpoint key differences between different dosage strengths by creating infographics that demonstrate how to maximize the number of doses per vial.

“Increasing that overall supply that's out there has been critically important to shape the content of the toolkit,” Towfic said.

Towfic also noted that the ease of use of the toolkit is meant to allow pharmacists and other health care providers who want to become vaccine providers to have an accessible resource available to make this possible quickly.

“It's important that those ready, willing, and able providers can easily become vaccine providers, from rural independent pharmacies to a variety of other settings. So, that's why we wanted the toolkit to be digestible for individuals, so that they can quickly get their staff trained and be prepared to safely and effectively provide these vaccines,” Towfic said.

Towfic also discussed the vaccine toolkit’s updates to the preparation, storage, and transportation considerations for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine; the updates regarding the transportation and storage information for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine; the updates to ancillary supply re-distribution considerations; and whether any other information has been released more recently by USP pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.