Pharmacists Are Coming to the Rescue

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Pharmacy Times, February 2021, Volume 89, Issue 2

As Pharmacy Times® goes to press this month, there is a lot of encouraging news on the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) front.

As Pharmacy Times® goes to press this month, there is a lot of encouraging news on the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) front.

More than 32 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States so far.1 Meanwhile, President Joseph R. Biden has announced the initial launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for the COVID-19 vaccination, a public-private partnership with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies.2

New steps will be taken to improve vaccine access, including increasing the supply to states, territories, and tribes, and increasing funding to jurisdictions to help administer vaccines, according to a statement.2 This initiative is intended to help meet the Biden administration’s goal of administering 100 million shots during his first 100 days in office.2

Beginning on February 11, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will give eligible individuals the chance to be vaccinated at select pharmacies across the country. The participating national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks represent more than 40,000 pharmacy locations and are a key component of the administration’s national strategy to expand access to vaccines.2

In addition, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) asked the Biden administration to include recently retired pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in this campaign. The request was made in a joint letter signed by the APhA and 7 other pharmacy organizations.3

As Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, Pharmacy Times® Editor in Chief, notes in this issue, pharmacists and technicians must be ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, as they will vaccinate millions of Americans in the coming months.

Trygstad urges all those in the profession to “cheer on fellow pharmacists and their support staff. Cheer on nurses and primary care providers and the local health department’s efforts. Of course, not everything has gone smoothly, but now is the time for care teams to work together more than ever.”

Also in this issue of Pharmacy Times®, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we hope pharmacists will find our cover story on ways to prevent heart disease useful. This leading cause of death in the United States has risk factors that pharmacists can help patients reduce.

Other coverage in this issue includes articles on diabetes medications that treat heart disease, treating depression, and, for technicians, processing insurance claims and payments.

Thanks for reading!

REFERENCES

  • Huang P, Carlsen A. How is the COVID-19 vaccination campaign going in your state? NPR. February 3, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/28/960901166/how-is-the-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-going-in-your-state
  • Antrim A. Biden administration launches federal pharmacy program for COVID-19 vaccine administration. Pharmacy Times®. February 2, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/biden-administration-launches-federal-retail-pharmacy-program-for-covid-19-vaccine-administration
  • Murphy J. APhA urges Biden administration to use retired pharmacists, pharmacy technicians in COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Pharmacy Times®. February 2, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2021. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/apha-urges-biden-administration-to-use-retired-pharmacists-pharmacy-technicians-in-covid-19-vaccination-campaign