10 Things for Pharmacies to Know About the Covid-19 Vaccine

This week, the first shipments of Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine are on their way to destinations across the country and the first vaccine recipients are receiving their initial dose. This means the time for pharmacies to get involved is drawing near. For many, the time is now.

The process for pharmacies to certify for vaccine administration is lengthy. And there are many additional considerations for pharmacies for managing the dosing process, reporting and more.

At our December CLIMB Webinar, we hosted a panel discussion on the Covid-19 vaccine. We were joined by 3 pharmacists and compliance expert Jeff Hedges to gain valuable knowledge on many things that pharmacies need to know in order to find success first with certification and then with their vaccination programs.

If you missed the panel discussion, here are some of our favorite insights from the December 10th session.

  • You’ll likely have two avenues to follow for certification. One of our panelists followed processes laid out by their wholesaler. This will involve following state and CDC requirements along with any wholesaler specific requirements. You can also follow guidance directly from your state department of health and the CDC.
  • Become an expert on the vaccination process and train on state/CDC requirements now. Know what information you’ll need to collect from patients for reporting. Use your flu shot processes as building blocks to prepare.
  • The CDC wants doses to be recorded within 24 hours. This is a big change from more flexible, optional, or even non-existent reporting requirements in many states. It’s a good idea to assign a team member to monitor and maintain reporting requirements.
  • Plan for someone to pick up the slack. For pharmacists that do it all, you’ll need someone to help with day to day activities while you’re busy with vaccinations. Especially in later phases of vaccine allocation, you can expect volume similar to that experienced during your busiest flu vaccine week. But for many weeks on end. You may need a relief pharmacist and/or other extra team members.
  • Medicare reimbursement has been published at $45.33 for both doses of the vaccine. Review other direct contracts to make sure you understand what billing for the vaccine will look like.
  • Plan for marketing your pharmacy’s ability to administer the vaccine, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Allocation for phases one and two will be tightly controlled, so driving traffic when the vaccine isn’t readily available is premature. However, be ready for later phases when they come.
  • You can also prepare educational pieces now to share via email or social media. Be a resource for patients to understand vaccine distribution, get answers to questions about the vaccine and know how to go about getting the vaccine (appointments, location, etc.) when it’s their turn.
  • Explore community partnerships as you plan for vaccination at scale during later phases. One of our panelists was partnered with local EMS to provide an easy place for vaccinations to occur as well as for ultra-cold vaccine storage.
  • Rely on pharmacists in your community to help you with the certification processes. Find someone who’s gone through the process that can help you tackle each hurdle, one little step at a time.
  • Embrace the opportunity. During the pandemic, pharmacies have stepped up as relied upon members of the healthcare team. Administering the Covid-19 vaccine builds on that foundation. We were overwhelmed by our panelists desire to be a part of the solution, helping patients and community.

Ready for more? Our panel discussion was filled with way too much great information to fit into just one article. You can watch the entire panel in our CLIMB Library. All you need to do is be a CLIMB webinar registrant to access not just this session, but every CLIMB video. Registration for our monthly webinar is free and each month brings brand new content to help you build a more profitable and customer-centric pharmacy.  Register by clicking here. 

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1 Response
  1. Thanks for pointing out that there will be certifications for pharmacies once vaccines become a lot more accessible to the public soon. I’m currently looking for a drive thru pharmacy in order for me to more conveniently restock on my maintenance medicine. I hope that the pharmacy I can find will also have COVID-19 vaccines available one of these days.

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