Preparatory Actions Pharmacies Should Take to Prepare to Immunize the Public Against COVID-19

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Michael Flannery, PharmD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, on the process that the hospital pharmacy has developed for vaccinations following the arrival of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Michael Flannery, PharmD, the assistant director of pharmacy operations at the University of Rochester Medical Center, on the process that the hospital pharmacy has developed pertaining to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines that have recently been granted emergency use authorizations by the FDA.

Alana Hippensteele: Do you have any thoughts on the necessary preparatory actions pharmacies across the country should be taking to prepare to immunize the public against COVID-19?

Michael Flannery: I know, here at the hospital, we're in constant communication with our community leaders, with other health care organizations, as well as the [Department of Health]. As a pharmacy, I would say plan—make sure that you have your process in place, have an [standard operating procedure] developed as far as the storage and handling requirements, the stability, the preparation, obviously, that the 2 that we have available to us that the preparation process is different for both of those, so making sure that your staff is well-educated. You know, as simple as the Pfizer dose being 0.3 ml and the Moderna dose being 0.5 ml. The difference between inverting the vial and scrolling the vial. The length of time it's stable at room temperature, the length of time it's stable after drawing those doses up, so make sure that you plan your clinics with all that information in mind, for sure.

Then also, we've seen with Shingrix in the past that it can sometimes be difficult to get patients back in to get their second dose, so make sure that you have a plan set forth for that. I know some of the reimbursement models that we've seen so far, there is an incentive for the pharmacy as far as the administration fee to get that second dose, so you know that will be a great opportunity for pharmacies to capitalize on that.

But I would say to plan. Definitely plan accordingly as best you can and always keeping in mind what may just happen and have to adjust that way.

Alana Hippensteele: Right, absolutely.