ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Community Pharmacists Association welcomed indications that the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are making COVID-19 vaccines available to community pharmacies through independent pharmacy network administrators and state health departments.
“We are pleased that independent pharmacy groups will be included in the program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “We expect many other independent pharmacies to be included as the program expands.” The development comes after months of talks and correspondence between NCPA and HHS aimed at making sure community pharmacies have access to the vaccines.
“Community pharmacies outnumber any of the largest chains, and they very often serve populations for whom there are no other accessible health care providers,” said Hoey. “Defeating COVID-19 means relying on community pharmacies. Based on what we are hearing from our members and industry partners, the lead federal agencies see community pharmacy as a critical part of their plan for fighting the disease.”
One major pharmaceutical manufacturer announced this week that its vaccine was highly effective in clinical tests. At least half a dozen other companies are expected to announce their results soon. Hoey, who has been working to support the administration’s Operation Warp Speed, a program aimed at bringing 300 million doses to market by early next year, said community pharmacists are ready, willing, and able to help the nation end the pandemic.
“The vaccine program is a key to defeating COVID-19, and defeating the virus is the key to our economy,” he said. “From the start of the pandemic, community pharmacists have been on the front lines, taking care of their patients as essential health care providers. It is very good news for the country that HHS has included community pharmacies in its vaccine distribution program.”