More HCPs, Including Retired Pharmacists, Can Quality As COVID-19 Vaccinators

Vaccinating Americans against COVID-19 is becoming an all hands on deck” situation, with more healthcare professionals being authorized to administer the shots, including retired pharmacists, and the number of pharmacies participating in a national vaccine program being doubled. Here is more information.

WASHINGTON, DC – Pharmacies looking to bring on additional staff to help vaccinate as many Americans as possible against COVID-19 will have lots of new options, including retired pharmacists and pharmacy interns.

That’s because President Joe Biden ordered an Amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act Declaration to Allow More Qualified Professionals to Serve as Vaccinators. That authorizes additional categories of qualified professionals to prescribe, dispense, and administer COVID-19 vaccines anywhere in the country.

Under the order, newly eligible vaccinators include:

  • Dentists,
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (Advanced and Intermediate EMTs),
  • Midwives,
  • Optometrists,
  • Paramedics,
  • Physician Assistants,
  • Podiatrists,
  • Respiratory Therapists and

The amendment also authorizes recently retired members of the above professions, as well as pharmacists and pharmacy interns, to serve as vaccinators, if they were in good standing upon expiration of their license. It also opens the possibility for medical students, nursing students, and students of the other eligible health care professions with proper training and professional supervision to serve as vaccinators.

In addition, the White House announced the launch of an Online Vaccinator Portal to help healthcare professionals, retirees, and students determine if they are now eligible to administer the COVID-19 vaccine under federal law. 

Expanding vaccinators is part of Biden’s effort to move the United States away from pandemic restrictions and toward more normal functions by July 4. Part of that is making every adult in the United States eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1.

A key part of that is increasing locations where the vaccine can be obtained. Community pharmacies are key to that effort, with public health officials stating they will double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program. That would make the vaccine available at more than 20,000 pharmacies in locations convenient to all Americans. In addition, the White House is calling for pharmacies to expand mobile operations into the hardest hit communities to reach more people.

Vaccines also will be directly delivered to an additional 700 community health centers, increasing the number to 950, for facilities that serve low income, minority, rural and Tribal patients, while also more than doubling the number of mass vaccination centers, run by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the U.S. military and other federal agencies.

As part of that, more than 4,000 active duty troops are being called up to support vaccination efforts, bringing the total to over 6,000, according to a White House press release.

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