NACDS is urging states to provide clarity on pharmacist-provided childhood vaccinations, and enhance overall patient access to vaccines.
Soon after the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision last week authorizing pharmacists in all states to administer childhood vaccines, NACDS is urging states to do more to ensure that pharmacies are empowered to carry out these actions.
In an email to the governors of all states, NACDS President and CEO Steven Anderson said they should issue an executive order that “explicitly allows pharmacists to initiate, order, and administer FDA-authorized vaccines to individuals age 3 and older without restrictions and to provide coverage for this professional service.”1
“Such action will align with CDC’s pandemic plans to utilize pharmacists and for communities to be prepared for a vaccine when it becomes available,” Anderson said.
“HHS’ action is clear in paving the way for pharmacists and pharmacy interns to provide vaccines to children. Yet, in providing utmost clarity, NACDS strongly urges your state to affirm that by operating under the HHS declaration, pharmacists are not in violation of your state’s pharmacy laws or regulations,” Anderson noted.
For example, the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy issued guidance last week to affirm HHS’ action, saying “a North Carolina immunizing pharmacist who orders and administers pediatric vaccines in compliance with DHHS’ declaration during the federally-declared COVID-19 public health emergency shall not be deemed by the Board of Pharmacy to be in violation of the North Carolina Pharmacy Practice Act.”
The governors should also issue an executive order allowing pharmacists to initiate, order, and administer adult vaccinations for all residents, including ethnic and racial minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, those with chronic diseases, and urban and rural populations, according to Anderson.
NACDS also said that the “impressive action” several states have taken to provide pharmacies flexibility during COVID-19 pandemic should be made permanent.
“For instance, nearly all states have removed barriers to COVID-19 testing, 40 states allow for remote processing of prescriptions, and 11 states allow for therapeutic interchange…We urge your state to take action to make pharmacy operations flexibilities permanent, including end-to-end testing services, which would benefit patients every day,” Anderson said.
1. NACDS email to all governors. NACDS; August 24, 2020. Accessed August 27, 2020. https://www.nacds.org/pdfs/pharmacy/2020/NACDS-StateLetter-Vaccinations-8-24-2020.pdf