The pandemic has brought pharmacy to the forefront as a key public health infrastructure

We must now turn our attention to all the recommended vaccines.

As the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects rural, low-income and ethnic minorities, public pharmacies have become a major public health infrastructure.1.2 The possibility of receiving vaccines in public pharmacies, as well as places where people live, work, play,
and prayed for more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccination in the United States.3.4 Pharmacy staff are available, reliable and well-trained and should be proud of their efforts, especially through any changes or changes in the work process introduced to meet the growing pandemic of vaccination administration, testing and infusion services. These work processes and capacity will not withdraw after the pandemic as long as pharmacies remain economically viable. Pharmacies are a new national strategic reserve of public health.


Despite the efforts of pharmacies and the almost complete opening of our healthcare system to non-COVID-19 services, routine check-ups and vaccinations continue to lag behind at an alarming rate. For example, the CDC found that the rate of vaccination in pediatrics fell in the first 3 months of the pandemic in 2020, especially for those over 2 years of age: in this group the rates of vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap), measles , mumps, rubella (MMR) and human papillomavirus (HPV) have decreased by 60% or more compared to the same months in the previous 2 years.5 Even when the healthcare system opened in late summer and autumn 2020, children and adolescents were not vaccinated at rates before the pandemic: Tdap use among patients aged 13 to 17, for example, fell by 30%. compared to the same period in 2018
and 2019. According to the authors of the CDC study, “in all age groups and in all types of vaccines, none of the jurisdictions [studied] demonstrates a sustained or sustained increase in the number of weekly doses administered above pre-pandemic levels. “5

In adults, with the exception of some populations in certain categories, vaccination levels also fell sharply at the start of the pandemic and did not recover sufficiently by August 2020 compared to levels in the same periods in 2019.6 Even exceptions to this trend may not reflect Americans’ desire for basic vaccinations: the increase in Medicare Advantage flu vaccinations from July 2020 to August 2020 compared to the same period in 20196, for example, is probably related to joint application
of the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine and of patients’ perceptions that the influenza vaccine will inoculate against COVID-19. In the end, Americans lagged behind vaccination levels before the pandemic, and our rates were not impressive at first.

Add to these accompanying winds a purulent distrust of vaccines. Although many experts and staff complain that they do not have 100% vaccination for COVID-19, almost 90% coverage for the first dose for those aged 18 and over4 is well over just 50% coverage of influenza vaccination achieved during the 2020-2021 flu season.7 Social media has led some to distrust the benefits and safety of vaccines; however, his continued reporting of poor outcomes in the unvaccinated – and in particular the use of hyperlocal data (eg hospitals, local health departments, local staff) – has helped others
to be aware of the consequences of the virus. The question remains whether hesitation about the COVID-19 vaccine affects other levels of vaccination.


All this must force pharmacies and pharmacy staff to make a focused and lasting commitment to vaccines and education. Our role as trusted healthcare providers in connection and embedded in our communities is more important than ever. The health of our communities depends on the ability of providers to fill care gaps. Pharmacies are in a good position to increase justice through vaccination and increasingly through screening services for chronic diseases, mental health and infectious diseases other than influenza or COVID-19.


Of course, these basic functions of public health cannot be maintained without proper policy, recognition of the role of the pharmacy and reasonable reimbursement. Although reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccination services is generally ubiquitous, claims administration and contracting for other COVID-19 services, such as testing and infusions, are lagging far behind. In addition, many plans pay nothing for the vaccination service other than COVID-19, let alone other testing and screening services. In order to facilitate justice and overall public health, payers, plans and politicians must make the rehabilitation of pharmacies a priority.

About The Auhtor

Troy Trigstad, PharmD, Ph.D, MBA, is the CEO of CPESN USA, a clinically integrated network of more than 3,500 participating pharmacies. He received his pharmaceutical and MBA degrees from Drake University and a doctorate in pharmaceutical results and policy from the University of North Carolina. He was recently on the board of directors of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.


1. Dobis EA, McGranahan D. Rural residents appear to be more vulnerable to serious infection or death from the COVID-19 coronavirus. Washington, DC: US ​​Department of Agriculture; 2021. Accessed February 6, 2022. february / rural-residents-appear-to-be-more-vulnerable-to-serious-infection-or – death-from-coronavirus-covid-19

2. Rutgers-New Brunswick University. The impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities. Newswise. November 9, 2020 Accessed April 18, 2022

3. The federal program for retail pharmacies for vaccination against COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 8, 2022 Accessed April 18, 2022

4. Follow-up of COVID data: COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed April 18, 2022

5. Patel Murthy B, Zell E, Kirtland K and others. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of selected routine vaccinations for children and adolescents – 10 US jurisdictions, March-September 2020 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021; 70 (23): 840-845. doi: 10.15585 / mmwr.mm7023a2.

6. The COVID-19 pandemic: impact on the use of adolescent and adult vaccines in the United States in different markets. Avaleri’s health. Accessed March 25, 2022 Vaccine-Utilization-Across-Markets_White – Paper.pdf

7. Scope of influenza vaccination, USA, influenza season 2020-21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 7, 2021 Accessed April 18, 2022

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