APhA coronavirus watch: Pharmacists in New York will be ready when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on June 17 that will allow New York State pharmacists to provide the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. The legislation (S.8182-A/A. 10508-A) adds COVID-19 to the list of illnesses for which pharmacists in the state can vaccinate.

“Now is the time to make sure that people will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it becomes available,” said Community Pharmacy Association of New York State President Mike Duteau and National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson in a joint statement. “It is essential that all states continue to remove barriers for pharmacies to help meet the needs of patients during this phase of the pandemic.”

They go on to say that a federal government study found that in a pandemic situation, 80% of the population in the United States can be vaccinated seven weeks faster when pharmacies are involved. In addition, a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found that 79% of New York State voters say pharmacists should be allowed to provide a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The H1N1 pandemic of 2009 taught the critical lesson that pharmacies and pharmacists play an irreplaceable role in vaccination campaigns, and since that time patients have come to know that they can obtain more and more of their vaccinations safely and conveniently at the pharmacy,” Duteau and Anderson said in the joint statement.

The legislation was led by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D) and New York State Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D).