More Pharmacists Authorized to Administer Monkeypox Vaccines
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra confirmed today a Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act declaration had been filed with the Federal Registry that immediately grants pharmacists the authority to administer monkeypox vaccines.
Additionally, this HHS declaration empowers pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians supervised by a pharmacist to prescribe, dispense, or administer smallpox (variola virus), monkeypox virus, or other orthopoxvirus vaccines or therapeutics.
The authorization also extends to pharmacists and technicians whose licensure has lapsed or expired in the past five years.
On August 4, 2022, the HHS Secretary determined that a public health emergency exists nationwide due to the consequences of an outbreak of monkeypox cases across multiple states.
As with previous PREP Act declarations, the new authorities have some limitations, including training and recordkeeping requirements.
Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, interim executive vice president and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), stated in a press release on September 30, 2022, "This is a win for patients."
"This (HHS action) will provide greater access to patients in need of these vaccines and treatments to address this public health outbreak."
'Pharmacists are easily accessible and readily located, particularly in underserved communities."
"State laws vary widely in whether a pharmacist can order and administer monkeypox vaccines and therapeutics."
"This PREP Act declaration removes barriers for pharmacists to order and administer for patients in all states."
Currently, the U.S. CDC's preferred MPXV vaccine is the non-replicating Jynneos® (MVA-BN, IMVANEX®, IMVAMUNE®).
One of the initial pharmacies to administer monkeypox vaccines was in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Gwendolyn Herzig, the owner, and pharmacist at Park West Pharmacy, confirmed she started administering Jynneos vaccines the week of July 25, 2022.
The U.S. national monkeypox virus (MPXV) vaccine strategy was announced on June 28, 2022, and updated vaccination schedules were published on August 22, 2022.
As of September 28, 2022, 803,596 Jynneos doses have been administered in 48 U.S. Jurisdictions, and the U.S. government has distributed 833,293.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the MPXV, an orthopoxvirus, part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox, says the U.S. CDC.
The CDC recently confirmed (28) total fatalities related to the ongoing worldwide MPXV outbreak.
Additional MPXV outbreak news is posted at Monkeypox Today.
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