Federal Government Expanding Pharmacy’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccinations
By Danny Sanchez, Vice President and General Manager, EnlivenHealth™, an Omnicell Innovation
On Feb. 2, the White House released plans to deliver doses of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to retail pharmacies. While many pharmacies are currently administering vaccine doses that have been allocated to states, this move by the Biden Administration is an important and welcomed step to expand the direct role of pharmacists in helping to end the devastating pandemic. We strongly endorse this new Federal Government policy and believe pharmacies must be fully involved in the COVID-19 vaccine administration effort now picking up speed around the country.
Although this new vaccine distribution program is reportedly starting off with only about 6,500 pharmacies nationwide, we are pleased to see that it could expand significantly to ship doses to some 40,000 pharmacies across the US. These pharmacies include everything from national chains and supermarket pharmacies to independents. A key objective of the new pharmacy-direct initiative is to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacies that serve populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
We have always believed that retail pharmacies must play a central role in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. More than 95% of all Americans live within less than five miles of a neighborhood pharmacy, making local pharmacists the most accessible healthcare providers. Pharmacists are also among the most trusted healthcare professionals, ranking only behind nurses in that regard. Bottom-line, pharmacies are a natural and very effective distribution channel for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Our mission at EnlivenHealth™ is to provide pharmacies and pharmacists with the advanced digital technologies and tech-enabled services to empower their expanding role in healthcare, including administering the COVID-19 vaccine to millions of people nationwide. Our new CareScheduler solution is doing exactly that. CareScheduler automates the manual and time-consuming processes of scheduling, consent management, patient outreach and registry reporting for administering the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other vaccines and testing programs. Our customers are already using CareScheduler to set up thousands of clinics to administer the vaccine to a rapidly growing number of patients across the USA.
Pharmacists truly are frontline healthcare heroes. It’s about time that they are recognized for the essential role they can and must play in keeping people healthy and safe during this critical moment in history.