CPhT CONNECT™ Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021



CPhT CONNECT www.pharmacy technician.org 16 Pharmacies are well-positioned to increase access to vaccinations, particularly in rural areas or those that are medically underserved. In fact, in the early 2018-2019 season, pharmacists were responsible for nearly a third of all adults who received the influenza vaccination for that given year. This demonstrates how significant the role of pharmacists and their institutions play in the annual influenza vaccine administration. Most of this impact is made within the community setting, as this is extremely convenient for most people in today’s world. In fact, as of 2018, nearly 90% of Americans lived within five miles of a community pharmacy. The proximity to community pharmacies, which offer essential healthcare services like vaccinations, reduces travel time and the hassle of setting up an appointment with a doctor’s office. Also, it allows providers to spend more time focusing on other vital tasks rather than administering a vaccine that can be done elsewhere more efficiently. Pharmacies often offer extended hours of services, which permits even further access to healthcare services. However, with the already busy influenza season, the added pressure from administering the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine would have dramatically disrupted the workflow if the responsibility were solely placed on the pharmacist. With the incorporation of pharmacy technicians assisting in vaccine administration, pharmacists will be able to maintain efficient delivery of important medications to individuals with conditions other than COVID-19, such as chronic congestive heart failure, infections, and diabetes mellitus. Due to COVID-19 grasping most of people’s attention, individuals with chronic medical

conditions unrelated to COVID-19 get lost in the big picture during a pandemic. These individuals expect health systems, specifically community pharmacies, to maintain adequate administration and efficient dispensing of medications, because their conditions are just as, or more severe than COVID-19. The declaration under the PREP Act has now prevented this major barrier of receiving health services, inching closer and closer to resolving the pandemic. The delivery and execution of the new HHS authorization allowing pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines, specifically COVID-19 vaccines, demonstrates the important role a pharmacy technician plays in the healthcare system. It is a defining moment in the profession, which has been pushing this topic for several years now due to the potential benefits. For example, it allows the opportunity for more individuals to receive COVID-19 vaccines in a shorter period, thus reducing infection rates and protecting individuals who are at high risk of mortality. The guidance allows all pharmacy personnel to be fully engaged, as immunization is an important step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, there are twice as many pharmacy technicians as pharmacists, permitting a speedier process compared to pharmacists and qualified interns vaccinating by themselves. Pharmacy technicians administering COVID-19 vaccines not only will have a positive impact on public health, but it will also be extremely beneficial to providers by offering providers additional flexibility to ensure that patients will have access to vaccinations in pharmacies.

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