Community Pharmacists’ Group Supports Expansion of Vaccine Mandates
Pharmacies continue to play an outsized role in the effort to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and the head of the National Community Pharmacists Association said that independent drugstores will continue to fight on the front lines. Find out about new initiatives applauded by the NCPA and how pharmacies are involved.
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Community Pharmacists Association strongly endorsed a White House plan to significantly increase COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said the following about President Joe Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” plan, “Community pharmacy has been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Local pharmacies have administered tens of millions of doses of vaccines, in many cases to communities without another readily accessible health care provider.”
Hoey added, “We’ve been proud to have worked with the administration and Congress to expand the role of local pharmacists and the scope of their abilities as health care providers. And we are highly encouraged by several elements in the president’s latest plan.”
He was referring to several recently-announced initiatives involving pharmacies, including:
- Authorization for pharmacists to order and administer select COVID-19 therapeutics, including monoclonal antibody therapy;
- The expansion of testing to 10,000 additional pharmacies, although Hoey called for more involvement of independent pharmacies; and
- The role of independent pharmacies in administering millions of doses of the vaccine boosters once they are approved.
The White House has dramatically expanded the reach of vaccination requirements. Through a rule being developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all businesses with 100 or more employees must ensure that every worker is either fully vaccinated or gets tested at least one time a week. In addition, all workers in most healthcare settings that receive Medicaid or Medicare to be fully vaccinated, as are all federal executive branch employees and all employees of federal contractors. The requirement also applies to all Head Start educators and teachers and staff of all federally run schools.
Biden’s plan also calls for more testing. “Testing allows us to quickly detect cases and prevent outbreaks,” according to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients. “That’s why, as we accelerate the pace of vaccination, the President’s plan also ramps up the availability of testing across the country by using the Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of rapid tests; by investing $2 billion to procure 280 million rapid point-of-care and at-home COVID tests; by expanding the reach of the free pharmacy testing program to 10,000 local pharmacies around the country; and by sending 25 million free at-home tests to 1,400 community health centers and hundreds of food banks.”
“As the president made clear, this fight isn’t over. We’re at a critical point and bold action is necessary. Independent pharmacists are in this fight until we defeat the virus,” Hoey said.