Pharmacists Garner Priority COVID-19 Vaccination in New Recommendations


A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine include pharmacists in the priority group for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when available.

Pharmacist in Mask

The new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's (NASEM) COVID-19 vaccine recommendations identify pharmacists as one of the essential groups that should be the first to receive the vaccines when they are available.

NASEM’s “Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine” report, developed by the Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus, will inform the work of federal agencies that will determine how COVID-19 vaccine(s) will be allocated in the US.1

NASEM’s initial discussion draft of the COVID-19 vaccine framework identified pharmacists in the second phase to be vaccinated. However, ASHP advocated to create a targeted framework that prioritizes the most vulnerable populations and critical occupation groups — including pharmacists and all high-risk, frontline health care workers, the organization said in a press release.2

ASHP also urged NASEM to ensure pharmacists are prioritized to receive allocation of COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supplies needed to administer the vaccine(s).

“ASHP is working to ensure that pharmacists are immunized and empowered to be immunizers. Without question, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians need to be prioritized for vaccination alongside other frontline health care workers,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, FASHP. “We applaud the National Academies for reconsidering its initial stance on this point, which is critically important for our members who have been working tirelessly on the front lines and who stand ready to administer the vaccine, when approved and distributed.”

“Importantly, the committee recognized the essential role that pharmacists serve during the pandemic and its report now prioritizes pharmacists along with other high-risk, frontline healthcare providers recommended to be immunized against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the first phase of vaccine allocation,” ASHP said. “The report also emphasizes pharmacist as immunizers, at risk for community transmission.”

In its final report, NASEM also noted the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on minorities and discusses the underlying causes that have led to higher rates of infection.

“We are pleased that the recommendations in the report explicitly address the burden of COVID-19 on communities of color and agree with recommendations that address mitigating health inequities is ‘a moral imperative of an equitable vaccine allocation,’” Abramowitz said.


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Framework for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine. The National Academies Press. 2020.

ASHP applauds NASEM’s COVID-19 vaccination allocation report. News release. ASHP; October 2, 2020. Accessed October 7, 2020.

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