ASHP Presses for National Strategy for COVID-19 Vaccination
ASHP, a leading healthcare organization representing 55,000 members who serve as patient care providers in hospitals, health systems, ambulatory clinics, and other healthcare settings spanning the full spectrum of medication use, is strongly urging the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to ensure that there is a national plan for widespread vaccination for COVID-19.
During a September 2 NASEM listening session, Dr. Anna Legreid Dopp, ASHP Senior Director of Clinical Guidelines and Quality Improvement, shared ASHP’s Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Allocation, and Mass Immunization, which outline a pathway for COVID-19 vaccine provision and oversight. ASHP called for the creation of a targeted vaccination framework that emphasizes the most vulnerable populations and critical occupational groups, including pharmacists and all frontline healthcare workers.
“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to the nation’s public health response to ensure that there is a universally agreed-upon strategy for vaccinating the population against COVID-19,” said ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP. “Further, it is imperative that pharmacists are authorized to administer the vaccine and are prioritized for vaccination along with all other frontline healthcare providers. Pharmacists and their interprofessional colleagues have been working nonstop for months in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and throughout the healthcare system to support patients during the pandemic. We need to prioritize policies now that ensure a strong path forward on the nationwide allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine, protecting communities and frontline healthcare workers that are needed to care for patients.”
Federal plans for allocating COVID-19 vaccines are under development in anticipation of the availability, in the coming months, of one or more licensed vaccines. NASEM, during the September 2 listening session, sought input from ASHP and a wide cross-section of stakeholder groups on a draft discussion document, Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine.
The initial draft places pharmacists in the second tier of NASEM’s vaccine allocation recommendations, said Legreid Dopp.
“We specifically requested that the NASEM document include pharmacists in tier one as a top priority target group that meets societal needs,” she said. “ASHP members are providing direct care to patients with COVID-19 throughout the hospital, addressing chronic care needs of patients at high risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 in ambulatory care settings, as well as providing COVID-19 testing services in all states, as authorized by the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Legreid Dopp emphasized during the listening session that pharmacists’ expertise spans the full spectrum of medication use, including optimization of vaccine supply and use. She also shared highlights from ASHP’s Principles for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Allocation, and Mass Immunization.
ASHP’s principles provide critical guidance on what is expected to be an unprecedented national public health effort. The document integrates lessons from previous mass vaccination efforts, current experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, and best practices in effective pandemic preparedness, supply chain management, and clinical practice.
The principles represent the latest important publication from ASHP’s comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Center, which has been central to ASHP’s efforts over the past six months to ensure that pharmacists, and all healthcare professionals, have the tools and resources needed to navigate the continued systemic impact of COVID-19 response and recovery. ASHP is accelerating its ongoing efforts to advocate for heightened recognition of the role pharmacists can play working alongside physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to bring an end to this pandemic.
For more information about ASHP’s recommendations to NASEM, view:
- ASHP Comments on NASEM Draft Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine
- ASHP and 12 Other Pharmacy Organizations Joint Comment Letter to NASEM
ASHP is the collective voice of pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in hospitals, health systems, ambulatory clinics, and other healthcare settings spanning the full spectrum of medication use. The organization’s nearly 55,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For 78 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, ashp.org, or its consumer website, SafeMedication.com.