Pharmacists Prepare to Administer Updated COVID-19 Vaccines This Fall

Pharmacies delivered both protein based and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in 2023
US CDC 2024
Atlanta (Precision Vaccinations News)

Throughout the last eighteen months, the most accessible healthcare provider on 'Main Street' took the leadership position in administering updated COVID-19 vaccines.

Thanks to the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, pharmacists scaled up their vaccination capabilities to deliver 40.5 million COVID-19 vaccinations.

Approximately 90% of U.S. residents live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy that delivers walk-up and appointment-based vaccination services.

From September 2022 to September 30, 2023, 59.8 million COVID-19 bivalent vaccine doses were administered in the United States. In urban and rural areas, pharmacies administered 81.6% and 60% of bivalent vaccine doses, respectively.

According to the U.S. CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on April 4, 2024, pharmacies were integral partners in national efforts to scale up vaccination capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency response.

Pharmacists provided vaccine access for persons across a wide range of sociodemographic groups.

From an age perspective, the proportion of COVID-19 bivalent doses administered by pharmacies ranged from 5.9% among children aged six months–4 years to 70.6% among adults aged 18–49 years.

Among racial and ethnic groups (Hispanic, African American, Native Hawaiian, or Asian persons), about 45% of COVID-19 bivalent vaccine doses were administered by pharmacists.

Known as trusted healthcare providers, pharmacists could serve as a model to address vaccination services' needs for routine vaccines and, in future responses to vaccine-preventable disease emergencies, wrote the CDC.

The CDC's support will be mutually beneficial as pharmacists deliver newer COVID-19 in conjunction with flu shots to increase overall uptake this fall season.

Silvia Taylor, Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs, and Advocacy Officer, Novavax, shared her perspective with Precision Vaccination News on April 8, 2024, "More than ever, we believe that increasing vaccination rates needs to be addressed at multiple levels.

"At the local level, pharmacists are playing an increasingly critical role in keeping our local communities protected from COVID."

"At the national level, public health authorities, like the CDC, are vital to providing guidance and recommendations to inform the healthcare ecosystem of evolving best practices."

"Just last week, at the World Vaccine Congress, CDC Director Mandy Cohen reiterated the ongoing need to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination."

"At Novavax, we support this important public health need."

"We cannot let our guard down; we need to partner across all stakeholders - including government, healthcare practitioners, academia, and industry - to find trusted messengers and messaging that can help to educate the public on why COVID vaccination is important and what vaccine options are available."

From a financial perspective, the CDC's Bridge Access Program, which ends by December 31, 2024, offers free COVID-19 vaccines to adults without health insurance and adults whose insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs.

Additionally, numerous programs help fund the cost of influenza vaccinations for children and adults during the 2024-2025 flu season.

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee