CPhT CONNECT™ Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021


Due to the HHS authorizing qualified pharmacy technicians to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccines in all 50 states, an abundance of interested individuals will be seeking how to get started. In addition to being nationally certified and/or registered with a specific State Board of Pharmacy, technicians must also complete an ACPE-accredited training program that includes hands-on training. For that, the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) offers the necessary training program to advance pharmacy technicians into more clinical roles. The NPTA’s Pharmacy Technician Immunization Administration Training Program was developed to meet the training program requirements established by the HHS guidance under the PREP Act. The program is ACPE-accredited for seven contact hours,

including hands-on training. After completion of the program, the pharmacy technician will be considered “qualified” as stated in the HHS guidance under the PREP Act. Through exceptional training offered by NPTA, pharmacy technicians will possess the tools and abilities to safely administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients. As mentioned before, most people in the United States live near a community pharmacy, making pharmacists and pharmacy technicians the most accessible healthcare professionals. As community pharmacies start to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, individuals will begin to flock toward them. The program provided by NPTA allows pharmacy technicians to satisfy public health demands, prevent dispensing and vaccinating delays, and be involved in the front lines against the pandemic.


The expansion of pharmacy technician roles carries a high likelihood of positively impacting the healthcare system and COVID-19 pandemic. The result of pharmacy technicians providing COVID-19 vaccinations could be significant. Due to the greater access of COVID-19 vaccinations by adding additional responsibilities to pharmacy technicians, more individuals can safely and quickly receive it. All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development or being distributed are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely of acquiring the viral infection. Experts also believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep an individual from becoming seriously ill even if they do contract the disease. This is particularly vital for patients who are at high risk of contracting the infection, such as immunocompromised hosts, and those who have medical conditions that could be exacerbated if infected with COVID-19. Pharmacy technicians now have the potential to obtain experience in the clinical aspects of healthcare services through the new HHS guidance under the PREP Act.


The HHS guidance under the 2020 PREP Act allowing pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations has presented an exciting opportunity to the profession. This initiative was introduced years ago, as there were several states already allowing pharmacy technicians the privilege before the release of the new guidance. However, many states remained skeptical about the idea and never considered giving technicians such responsibilities. But thanks to the PREP Act coupled with required training from the National Pharmacy Technician Association, pharmacy technicians can now advance their careers and serve a meaningful role in the fight against COVID-19. REFERENCES 1.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, October 20). Guidance for PREP Act Coverage for Qualified Pharmacy Technicians and State-Authorized Pharmacy Interns for Childhood Vaccines, COVID-19 Vaccines, and COVID-19 Testing. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/prep-act-guidance.pdf; Adams, A.J., Desselle, S.P., & McKeirnan, K.C. (2018). Pharmacy technician-administered vaccines: On perceptions and practice reality. Pharmacy, 6(4), 124. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6040124; Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (2020, December 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine- benefits.html 2. Pharmacy technicians gear up to immunize. (2020, October 22). APhA. https://www.pharmacist.com/article/pharmacy-technicians-gear-immunize 3. National Pharmacy Technician Association. (2020). Immunization Administration Training Program. IV Certified Pharmacy Technician. https://cf.pharmacytechnician.org/sales-page1605897314684?cf_uvid=8330337d8cd40a3862b30bde6d14f0a2 4. Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (2020, December 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html

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