APhA, 12 Other Pharmacy Organizations Call for Tier 1 Priority Status for Pharmacists in Planning for the COVID-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Pharmacists Association and 12 other pharmacy organizations today told a special committee of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) that pharmacists should be given tier 1 priority status in the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine(s).

"Pharmacies and pharmacists in all practice settings are essential front-line health care providers and have been providing COVID-19 and related patient care since the coronavirus first appeared in the United States," the group said. "We are proud of the tremendous critical efforts that our members have undertaken to help our nation respond to the pandemic."

The organizations said that pharmacies in all practice settings should be included in this designation. This includes community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, specialty pharmacies, community health centers, physician offices, ambulatory clinics, managed care organizations, hospice settings, and government facilities.

The organizations noted that more than 360,000 pharmacists have been trained to administer vaccines to patients of all ages, and "stand ready and able to meet the health care needs of their patients and communities."

Earlier this week, NASEM issued a draft set of recommendations for how the COVID-19 vaccine(s) should be allocated to the public, starting with essential health care providers and others at high-risk of transmission. Pharmacists were listed in the second priority tier.

The pharmacy organizations' letter had three key recommendations:

    1. To ensure that pharmacists continue to provide critical care to patients,
       including administration of COVID-19 vaccine, the Framework must
       recognize pharmacists in all practice settings in Tier 1 as essential
       front-line health care providers for priority vaccine administration.
    2. To ensure the equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to priority and
       other populations, our organizations strongly urge the Committee's report
       include a primary recommendation that ALL licensed pharmacies are given a
       priority designation in Federal and State vaccine allocation,
       distribution, and immunization plans. This should include prioritization
       of ancillary supplies and access to personal protective equipment (PPE)
       in the delivery of care to patients and protection of our immunizing
    3. The Committee should recommend that federal and state vaccine
       distribution and immunization plans include a fully-funded component for
       pharmacists and other accessible health care practitioners to conduct
       coordinated and consistent community- based-education and outreach
       campaigns supporting recommended vaccinations. These campaigns should
       focus on eliminating stigma, addressing vaccine hesitancy, and improving
       prevention and health outcomes for high priority and vulnerable patient

The full text of the letter is available at www.pharmacist.com

The letter was signed by the following pharmacy associations:

American Pharmacists Association
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American College of Clinical Pharmacy
Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association
National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
National Association of Specialty Pharmacy
National Community Pharmacists Association
National Pharmaceutical Association

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association is the largest association representing all of pharmacy, bringing together practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others to support pharmacists' ability to deliver optimal patient care. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.

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SOURCE American Pharmacists Association