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NCPA Sees Mobile Community Pharmacies Ready for COVID-19 Vaccines

September 2, 2020

A new survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association shows sky-high interest in delivering coronavirus vaccines when they are approved.

“Community pharmacists are already doing immunizations, so this is a natural expansion of the health care services they’re already providing,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA.

The survey finds that 86 percent of community pharmacists say they plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccines when they hit the marketplace. Another 12 percent want more information before they decide.

A large majority of community pharmacists already provide vaccinations for other illnesses. Among those, 70 percent administer to patients at locations beyond their stores. 81 percent provide immunizations at local businesses, while 53 percent immunize at long-term care facilities. Other locations include community centers, churches, schools, factories, and prisons.

“A big takeaway from the survey is that community pharmacists are highly mobile. Their reach goes far beyond the brick and mortar of their pharmacy and most are more than willing to go wherever they can do the most good,” said Hoey.

Almost 80 percent of community pharmacists operate in places with fewer than 50,000 people. Roughly 40 percent serve communities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Making sure the vaccine gets to small towns and rural areas is a key problem for public health officials that community pharmacists can solve, said Hoey.

“Community pharmacies are concentrated in places where there are not very many other pharmacies or health care providers,” said Hoey. “Penetrating those medically underserved communities will be a challenge for public health officials. What this data shows is that community pharmacies must be part of the solution.”

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