ASCP Takes Leadership Role in Getting COVID-19 Vaccine Deployed & Ensuring Pharmacist’s Role
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
The Department of Defense created a task force called Operation Warp Speed (OWS) that aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
ASCP was asked by the White House’s COVID-19 Task Force for names of pharmacists that could represent LTC pharmacy on OWS’s implementation committee. We are pleased to announce that one of our members, T.J. Griffin, Senior Vice President of Operations of Pharmerica, was selected to serve as a representative of ASCP and all of LTC pharmacy on this group.
TJ had his first calls last week and through his work and through some back channel communications, ASCP was able to push the merits of using the existing contractual relationships between LTC pharmacies and SNF facilities to manage the delivery of the vaccines. During a Saturday call with the administration, they indicated a lean toward using the LTC pharmacies to acquire, deliver, coordinate administration and report the vaccine and information. They also indicated that they are leaning to that same process for AL (where a contracted LTC pharmacy relationship exists). Clearly, this is a priority and opportunity for ASCP member LTC pharmacies.
These outlets also indicated that November 1, 2020 is a possible emergency authorization date (EUA) date for one of the 4 vaccines. They would like this vaccine in the hands of the pharmacies and into the facilities within days of that authorization date. They have pre-purchased 400 million doses (100 million of the 4 probable vaccines) and asked to have those produced, packaged, and deployed at logistical sites around the country awaiting the EUA and for rapid distribution to the pharmacies. SNF, AL, and health care workers (employees and contractors of SNFs and ALs) will be priority Phase 1 recipients of the vaccine.
To help ensure the entire sector is prepared to operationalize a vaccine into skilled and assisted living, we are convening a group to listen and respond to what TJ is hearing from OWS. We are hosting weekly call on Thursdays at 4:00PM ET to hear insight from the Warp Speed committee as well as report on our correspondence with the administration.
Additionally, we are providing a global % of SNF and AL buildings covered by our coalition of pharmacies. Having pharmacies join and become involved helps the task force recognize the level of coverage LTC pharmacy represents in both areas.
If you would like to join our weekly Vaccine Update calls, please email ASCP’s chief executive Chad Worz at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and the number of SNFs and ALs (buildings) your pharmacy services.
This is a very important opportunity for LTC pharmacies and pharmacists as solutions for this difficult crisis. We want to involve as many LTC pharmacies into the process to ensure its success.
Thank you, and thank you for what you do for your patients!
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