As the community’s most knowledgeable and accessible health care professional, pharmacists continue to selflessly serve on the front line in our nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. In fact, pharmacists will continue to be a centerpiece of the public health response to COVID-19 by leading the charge in administering vaccines to our communities. This critical role no doubt significantly factored into the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recent recommendation that saw health care personnel, such as pharmacists, be in the first group to receive any coronavirus vaccine that receives emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
The ACIP is a committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comprised of medical and public health experts. These experts review all available data – including clinical trial information – to evaluate a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. The committee’s findings are then used to develop and put forth federal recommendations on how to best use vaccines to control infectious diseases in the United States.
In addition to recommending vaccines, the ACIP also makes suggestions on vaccination schedules with respect to timing, dosage, and contraindications.
Limited vaccine supply
In instances where vaccine supply is limited, such as now with coronavirus, the ACIP considers the following four factors to determine which groups will receive priority status:
- Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible
- Preserve functioning of society
- Reduce the extra burden the disease has on people already facing disparities
- Increase the chance for everyone to enjoy health and well-being
Further, the ACIP uses the following four ethical principles to guide its decision-making process:
- Maximize benefits
- Minimize harms
- Mitigate health inequities
- Promote justice and transparency
Prioritizing health care providers
Pharmacists, like many health care personnel, are stationed on the front lines, providing critical care to patients, including to those infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, pharmacists are at high risk of being exposed to, and getting sick with, COVID-19. If a pharmacist gets COVID-19, they can then spread the virus to their patients, who likely have medical conditions that increase their risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Lastly, the pharmacist has been tapped as a key administrator of the COVID-19 vaccine to providers and patients alike, so their continued presence is critical to community health throughout the nation.
For all of these reasons, the ACIP believes to best protect the health of our communities and country, it is critical to first ensure the health and safety of pharmacists (and other health care workers) by providing them with early vaccine access.
PrescribeWellness COVID-19 vaccination resource center
PrescribeWellness remains committed to keeping you up to date with everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and continues to offer our frontline providers the opportunity to secure authorized and reliable COVID-19 testing kits through our online purchase form. Additionally, for the latest information on requirements, reporting, and reimbursement related to the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our new COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center.
For more information on how PrescribeWellness can support your community pharmacy during the developing coronavirus pandemic, fill in the form below! We’re here to help and love hearing from you!