Study Reinforces Community Pharmacists Play a 'Key Clinical Role' in COVID-19 Vaccination Process

The research team discovered that community pharmacists, as a skilled clinical workforce, could positively contribute to the future of COVID-19 vaccination programs by continuing to be active in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

As pharmacists continue to provide essential services during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for decision makers, community pharmacy staff, and consumers to endorse and support the ongoing public health role for community pharmacy, according to a study published in BMJ.1

The research team discovered that community pharmacists, as a skilled clinical workforce, could positively contribute to the future of COVID-19 vaccination programs by continuing to be active in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.2

The objective of the study was to understand how community pharmacy can most effectively deliver the necessary services with a focus on vaccination during the pandemic and onward. Using academic databases, preprint services, and grey literature, the researchers screened for documents meeting inclusion criteria. Data were extracted from 103 documents to develop and refine a program theory using a realist logic of analysis.1

The analysis created 13 context-mechanism-outcome configurations that explained when, why, and how community pharmacy can support public health vaccination campaigns, maintain essential services during pandemics, and capitalize on opportunities for expanded, sustainable public health service roles.1

Although the results were organized according to decision makers, community pharmacy teams, and community pharmacy users as key actors, some clear findings of the study include:

  • Supporting a clear role for community pharmacies in public health.
  • Clarifying pharmacists’ legal and professional liabilities.
  • Involving pharmacy teams in service specification design.
  • Providing suitable guidance, acceptable compensation, and resources.
  • Leveraging accessible, convenient locations of community pharmacy.1

"We need to use community pharmacy to a much greater extent for COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for boosters against new variants such as the Delta (Indian) variant. The current model (for example, the large hubs) may not be sustainable in the longer term, particularly if annual COVID-19 vaccination is required,” said study lead Ian Maidment, PhD, in a press release. "Our work found some key ways to make this happen. The easy access and local convenience of high street pharmacies makes them an ideal location for vaccinating at-risk populations."2

REFERENCES

1. Maidment I, Young E, MacPhee M, et al. Rapid realist review of the role of community pharmacy in the public health response to COVID-19. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e050043. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050043

2. Community pharmacy can play a ‘key clinical role’ in delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. EurekAlert! Published June 16, 2021. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://ekaprdweb01.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-06/au-cpc061521.php