APhA to NASEM: Pharmacists Should Be in Top-Tier of Providers of COVID-19 Vaccine
All pharmacists should be in the first tier of providers for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that pharmacists are able to continue providing critical care to their patients, said Scott J. Knoer, MS, PharmD, FASHP, in testimony this week to a committee of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The academy’s draft recommendations placed pharmacists in Tier 2, behind physicians and other providers.
“Pharmacists belong in Tier 1,” said Dr. Knoer, who is the executive vice president and chief executive officer of American Pharmacists Association. “Pharmacies and pharmacists in all practice settings are essential front-line health care providers and have been providing COVID-19 and related patient care since the coronavirus first appeared in the United States.” Dr. Knoer noted that pharmacists meet three of the four risk criteria for Tier 1, justifying their inclusion in Tier1, not Tier 2.
Dr. Knoer also told the committee that all willing and able licensed pharmacies should be given a priority designation in plans to immunize the public for COVID-19, to ensure that vaccine is available and accessible in all areas of the country. Pharmacists should also be prioritized in the allocation of vaccination supplies and PPE to protect the immunizing workforce, he said.
Finally, to address hesitancy about the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Knoer said the plan should include “a fully-funded component for pharmacists and other accessible health care practitioners to conduct coordinated and consistent community-based education and outreach campaigns supporting recommended vaccinations.”
The full text of Dr. Knoer’s comments can be found at https://www.pharmacist.com/nasem-draft-framework-equitable-allocation-covid-19-vaccine