ASHP Outlines Tenets for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout and Oversight


ASHP issued its recommended principles for the development, distribution, allocation, and oversight of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine.


With the race for a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine underway, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently issued guiding principles for the development, distribution, allocation, and oversight of an eventual vaccine.1

The new tenets, outlined as 10 key principles, create a framework for an effective rollout of a vaccine. Despite continuous updates on the development of a vaccine, many questions still remain around the potential rollout plan once the vaccine becomes available. 

Notably, because pharmacists and pharmacy technicians contribute significantly to immunization rates, ASHP emphasized that the pharmacy workforce should be mobilized nationwide to administer COVID-19 vaccines­. This means that state and federal legal, scope of practice, and reimbursement barriers must be removed.

Furthermore, ASHP noted that utilizing trained and supervised pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, and medical students to assist with screening and referral, as well as vaccine preparation and/or administration is crucial.

Other considerations include proper storage and handling plans for distribution, accurate and timely safety reporting, rigorous post-marketing vaccine surveillance, removal of reimbursement and cost barriers, and ensuring that vulnerable populations are targeted for vaccination.

The following principles are based on ASHP’s wide-ranging research and best practice expertise related to pandemic preparedness, supply chain management, distribution, and clinical practice:1

  • Enforce a transparent and rigorous process for vaccine development, approval, and post-marketing surveillance.
  • Collaborate and coordinate domestic and international public health partners to establish and implement a framework for the ethical and equitable global distribution of vaccine(s).
  • Engage, prepare, and protect the immunizer workforce.
  • Expand patient access to COVID-19 vaccine(s) across populations and communities, prioritized for greatest public health impact.
  • Achieve high acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccine(s) by minimizing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.
  • Seek innovative solutions for adverse drug event monitoring and documentation to improve the thoroughness, accuracy, and usefulness of data collection for improved vaccine safety.
  • Ensure patient access to COVID-19 vaccine(s) by preventing and removing financial barriers.
  • Remain vigilant with continued research and comprehensive surveillance procedures for COVID-19 vaccine use, safety, and effectiveness.

“We have no time to waste in coordinating the development and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine,” ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, ScD (Hon.), FASHP, said in a statement.2 “As the nation engages in this extraordinary planning and collaboration process, we must do so with clear direction. This is the largest single vaccination effort the global community has experienced, and while much is unknown, previous experience and research help provide a path forward.”

Read more about the principles in the full report.


  1. ASHP Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Allocation, and Mass Immunization. ASHP. August 26, 2020. Accessed August 27, 2020.
  2. ASHP Issues Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout and Oversight. News Release. ASHP; August 26, 20202. Accessed August 27, 2020.

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