On Friday, October 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a partnership with two chain pharmacies to deliver COVID-19 vaccine options to LTC facilities.

This is an outcome of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a partnership among components of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, engaging with private firms and other federal agencies, and coordinating among existing HHS-wide efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

It is important to note that your facilities can also choose YOU as a provider. According to Ed Vess, R.Ph., Pharmacy Professional Affairs, RedSail Technologies, it is critical to note that this partnership is not limited to only the two named pharmacy chains.

Including independent pharmacies is a critical part of the pandemic’s immunization solution, especially in rural and medically underserved areas. If your pharmacy is interested in offering COVID-19 vaccines to the facilities you service, let them know of your interest as soon as possible. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will start responding to a survey on Monday, October 19, 2020 – selecting their provider of choice: CVS, Walgreens, or their contracted pharmacy provider.

Make sure you have enrolled with your state health department as an immunizing pharmacy. Contact your state pharmacy association, or Board of Pharmacy, for additional requirements.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) have been diligent in their efforts to allow pharmacy choice for this program. This work emphasizes the importance of membership and active participation in your national professional organization(s).

Read the news release from HHS here, including details on the goals of the program, including costs, availability to both LTC staff and residents, and access for rural areas. You can also read more about how the pharmacies will be implementing vaccination programs, including managing vaccine supplies, administering the vaccine, reporting administration data, and adhering to CMS COVID-19 testing requirements.