After Spanberger Push, Biden Administration Vows to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccines to Community Pharmacies as Part of Nationwide Vaccination Strategy
Last Week, the Congresswoman Led a Bipartisan Effort Calling on HHS to Implement Lessons from Community Pharmacist-Led Approaches in its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Washington, February 2, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s push to expand the role of community pharmacies in COVID-19 vaccinations, the Biden-Harris Administration today announced the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccination, which will strengthen efforts to vaccinate vulnerable populations through independent pharmacies and nationwide pharmacy chains.
Last week, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort calling on the administration to implement lessons learned from states that have opted for a community pharmacist-led approach in its national COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy.
According to the White House, select retail pharmacies nationwide will now receive limited vaccine supply to vaccinate priority groups at no cost. Click here to read more about the effort.
“This announcement is a welcome step in expanding vaccination efforts here in Virginia and across the country. As Virginians face confusion and delays related to the vaccine rollout, I’ve heard from many community pharmacists here in Central Virginia who know that they have the knowledge and skills to provide much-needed support to our vaccination strategy,” said Spanberger. “In multiple states, we’ve seen how community pharmacists have the flexibility to cut through red tape and reduce headaches for patients in their communities. I’m glad that HHS is showing confidence in our independent pharmacies, their existing relationships with community members, and their willingness to boost the fight against this virus – and I remain committed to finding additional ways to make sure more Virginians receive the COVID-19 vaccine and can contribute to our recovery.”
In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Norris Cochran last week, Spanberger and U.S. Representative David B. McKinley (R-WV-01) pointed to states where community pharmacists have taken a larger leadership role and have seen a much faster distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable populations, including nursing home residents.
Additionally, the Members urged HHS to learn from these approaches and incorporate them into the federal COVID-19 vaccination strategy, including in efforts to combat hesitancy about receiving the vaccine in underserved and historically marginalized communities.