Pharmacy Chains Ready to Supply COVID-19 Vaccines
FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Now that federal guidelines have expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to include people over 65 and those of all ages with underlying health conditions, pharmacies are turning say they are ready, willing and able to do it. start kicking.
There is only one small problem: supply. But with two vaccines already available and others moving towards emergency use authorization, experts believe supply will likely catch up with demand soon.
Since Jan. 14, the federal retail pharmacy partnership program has called on two state-wide pharmacy chains to offer free COVID-19 vaccines. Pharmacies will be notified if they can participate in this initial rollout.
Led by Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine development program, the plan will eventually allow more than 40,000 pharmacies across the country to inject 100 million vaccines in one month. CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Costco, Walmart, Rite Aid, Publix and many more have already signed up as partners.
At least 250 million people in the United States are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, and pharmacies can help speed up the slower-than-expected vaccine distribution process, said Kathleen Jaeger, senior vice president of pharmaceutical care and advocacy advocate at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), a trade group based in Alexandria, Va., representing chain pharmacies.
“With 40,000 pharmacies and one vaccinator per store, it would be very easy to deliver 100 million doses of vaccine in a month,” Jaeger said at a NACDS press briefing on Wednesday.
“Many people live within five miles of a local pharmacy, so it will be easier to distribute the vaccines,” she said. “We are ready and our capacity is enormous.”
The exact manner in which pharmacies will distribute COVID-19 vaccines is not yet fully understood. They can use a meeting system to avoid long lines and congestion, she said. The government has asked 19 partner pharmacies to help develop a more precise game plan.
Allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines have raised concerns, and pharmacists can handle this as they are experienced in administering flu and H1N1 vaccines, she said. “We always observe a patient for 15 minutes after a vaccine,” she noted. If a person has a history of life-threatening allergic reactions, they should be vaccinated under strict medical supervision, she added.
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