NEW YORK — Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. will be network administrators in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Strategy for COVID-19, which will enable independent, small chain and long-term-care pharmacies to participate in the vaccination effort.
McKesson Corp., which will be a centralized vaccine distributor, is preparing to carry out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) directions “for the efficient distribution of vaccines to point-of-care settings across the country,” the company’s website says.
Cardinal is committed to working with the CDC and its pharmacy customers to ensure a safe and secure vaccine administration network across the country, said Victor Crawford, chief executive officer of the company’s Pharmaceutical Segment. “The breadth and expertise of Cardinal Health makes us a vital partner to help the country move forward. Pharmacists are serving on the front line of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are an important part of our nation’s fight against the pandemic.”
Members of AmerisourceBergen’s Elevate Provider Network along with Good Neighbor Pharmacy stores will be included in the effort. To support access, AmerisourceBergen will place orders with the CDC on behalf of qualified and eligible Good Neighbor and Elevate Provider Network members. The company will receive a direct allocation of vaccine for independent retail pharmacy customers once there is adequate supply to support broader inoculation efforts and vaccination is recommended for individuals beyond the initial critical populations.
“Independent community pharmacies have been fearless and have risen to every challenge that COVID-19 has presented this past year,” said Good Neighbor president Brian Nightengale. “Independent pharmacies are critical sites of care in their communities year-round, and many Americans turn to their local pharmacy for a variety of immunizations annually. We are beyond proud to help our independent pharmacies gain access to COVID-19 vaccine. They are already poised to join this next phase in the fight against the coronavirus and continue to support their communities.”
Good Neighbor is AmerisourceBergen’s independent community pharmacy network. Elevate Provider Network is the company’s pharmacy services administrative organization.
The efforts of AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal will help jurisdictions augment access to the vaccine when supply increases. With more than 90% of people living within five miles of a community pharmacy, pharmacies have unique reach and ability to provide access to the vaccine and support broad vaccination efforts. The efforts will provide critical vaccination services, with vaccine administered at community pharmacy locations at no cost to recipients. The program will be implemented in close coordination with jurisdictions to enable optimal coverage.
For its part, McKesson notes that it has a long history of deploying vaccines through its supply chain, which operates from hubs in several strategic locations. “From managing the distribution of vaccines during the 2009 H1N1 public health crisis to operating as the largest seasonal flu vaccine distributor each year, McKesson has the capability and experience to help support the country’s response to this critical moment in history,” it says.