NCPA States Community Pharmacists Are Essential in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

January 15, 2021
Alana Hippensteele, Editor

In a statement released by NCPA, the association explained that the current COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the country could be accelerated by working with community pharmacists.

In a statement released by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the association explained that the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination rollout in the country could be accelerated by working with community pharmacists to support the vaccine administration process.

“Based on what we’re seeing, the vaccine rollout is going better in states where community pharmacists are key partners in the distribution,” said NCPA President Brian Caswell in the statement. “West Virginia and Arkansas are good examples, where state and local health departments are working closely with community pharmacists to reach more patients and satisfy the demand. They should be models for the rest of the country.”

Caswell explained that although there are numerous Walgreens and CVS pharmacies throughout the country, there are approximately 21,000 community pharmacies in the United States, which is more than CVS and Walgreens pharmacies combined.

At these community pharmacies, many pharmacists are already trained and prepared to administer vaccines, as they have been administering immunizations for other diseases for some time.

Additionally, a majority of pharmacists at these community pharmacies (86%) have expressed an interest in administering the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients, according to research conducted by NCPA. Some of these patients also rely heavily on their community pharmacies for their health care needs due to their area being underserved by other health care resources.

“Community pharmacists are often the only accessible health care provider in their communities,” Caswell said in the statement. “They have a presence almost everywhere, but they are especially important in hard-to-reach communities with underserved populations.

Caswell noted that NCPA research has also demonstrated that 79% of community pharmacies are in areas with fewer than 50,000 people, making these pharmacists critical members of their communities.

“We are urging state and local health departments to enlist the community pharmacies in their jurisdictions and give them a shot at administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Community pharmacies are a force multiplier,” Caswell said in the statement. “They also have a high degree of trust with their patients, and that’s critical for overcoming vaccine hesitancy.”

REFERENCE

NCPA to State and Local Health Officials: Give Community Pharmacists a Shot with Vaccine Rollout. Alexandria, VA: National Community Pharmacists Association; January 14, 2021. [email] Accessed January 14, 2021.