Pharmacies and pharmacists can help the rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccines when available, NACDS said.
The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, formed to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, should rely on the “proven record of pharmacies and pharmacists for the rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccines when they are available,” NACDS said in a press release.1
“For more than a decade since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, government planning to distribute and administer federally purchased pandemic vaccine to the American public rapidly, efficiently, and safely has included modeling that heavily draws on the strength of chain pharmacies, pharmacists, and private sector distribution channels,” NACDS President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson, FASAE, CAE, IOM, wrote on behalf of NACDS in a letter to the directors of Operation Warp Speed.2
Among other objectives, which include the development of therapeutics and diagnostics for COVID-19, Operation Warp Speed is tasked with facilitating substantial quantities of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.3
Americans appreciate the opportunity to receive their vaccinations at pharmacies, NACDS noted. “With more than 60,000 community pharmacies nationwide-in which nearly 90% of all Americans live within 5 miles of a pharmacy-pharmacies stand ready to support Operation Warp Speed’s efforts to safely and efficiently bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the American public,” Anderson wrote.2
In fact, around 1 in 3 adults, or 38 million, who received the influenza vaccine during the 2018-2019 season did so at their community pharmacy, according to the letter.2
The organization’s letter detailed federal government studies showing that pharmacists can help vaccinate 25 million more Americans per week, and can help vaccinate 80% of the country seven weeks sooner than if neighborhood pharmacies were not engaged.2
One pivotal study indicated that community pharmacies can mitigate up to 23.7 million pandemic symptomatic cases, yielding a cost savings of approximately $100 billion.4
“Many community pharmacies can also deploy mobile vaccine programs that can be tailored to those in underserved, rural, or vulnerable communities,” NACDS said.1
1. NACDS Urges Operation Warp Speed to Prepare Now to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccinations through Pharmacies. News Release. NACDS; June 2, 2020. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://www.nacds.org/news/nacds-urges-operation-warp-speed-to-prepare-now-to-accelerate-covid-19-vaccinations-through-pharmacies/.
2. Anderson SC. RE: Accelerate Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines to Americans through Community Pharmacies. NACDS; June 1, 2020. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://www.nacds.org/pdfs/government/2020/NACDS-COVID-19-Vaccine-Operation-Warp-Speed-Letter-6-1-2020.pdf.
3. Trump Administration Announces Framework and Leadership for ‘Operation Warp Speed’. News Release. HHS; May 15, 2020. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/05/15/trump-administration-announces-framework-and-leadership-for-operation-warp-speed.html
4. Bartsch SM, Taitel MS, DePasse JV, et al. Epidemiologic and economic impact of pharmacies as vaccination locations during an influenza epidemic. Vaccine. November 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.040