ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association issued the following statement from CEO B. Douglas Hoey in reaction to the interim coronavirus vaccine immunization plan announced today by the Trump administration:
“We’re pleased that this plan acknowledges and looks to utilize the essential nature of community pharmacies when rolling out coronavirus vaccine administration plans. Millions of patients, in particular those in rural and medically underserved areas, rely on community pharmacies. Including these neighborhood pharmacies in addition to chain drugstores will be critical if any pandemic immunization plan is to be successful, a point we have made repeatedly to federal policymakers and to state leaders as well.
“As we approach the day when coronavirus vaccines may be administered, much work remains logistically and in terms of addressing reported vaccine hesitancy issues. Being such trusted health care providers, community pharmacists will play a key role in countering concerns and advocating for patients to utilize the safe, effective vaccines when available. NCPA will continue working to advocate for independent pharmacies’ participation in COVID-19 immunization plans for the communities that they serve.”
For millions of Americans, a local independent pharmacy is the only pharmacy option. According to data analyzed by NCPA, there are 14,866 zip codes in the United States with at least one retail pharmacy. In 3,057 of those, or 20.5 percent, the only pharmacies are independently owned pharmacies. A subsequent NCPA analysis found that 86 percent of community pharmacists say they plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccines when they hit the marketplace. Additionally, a large majority of these neighborhood pharmacies already provide vaccinations for other illnesses. Among those, 70 percent administer to patients at locations beyond their stores, including at long-term care facilities, local businesses, community centers, places of worship, schools, factories, and prisons.