Pharmacies gear up for COVID-9 vaccine

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – New York state is getting ready for a COVID-19 vaccine, one that will require plans for local pharmacies for distribution and storage.

The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York is trying to create strategic plans for storage, staffing and supply for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“You have to remember everybody needs to get 2 vaccinations, 4 weeks apart. So, you want to make sure that there’s enough supply for the people who already got that vaccine to get the their second vaccine,” said Thomas D’Angelo, President Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY).

By the end of the month, the federal government believes there will be enough vaccine doses for about 20 million Americans, around 6% of the population.

Essential workers and the elderly fall into the first group who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, that distribution will be largely handled by health care systems.  After that, the job will fall on local pharmacists.

“In the beginning because of the storage requirements for the Pfzier vaccine which is probably the first one that’s going to come out, think it’s going to be going to the bigger institutions. Also, there’s going to be several weeks if not months for that first wave of people to be vaccinated,” said D’Angelo.

“We’re also working on not only with us being able to get the vaccine it’s also the manufactures being able to produce the vaccine so that’s were the slow up can come,” said D’Angelo.

Governor Cuomo has expressed concerns about funding in regards to the vaccine, both in distribution and administration.

Cuomo also has advocated for more inclusion for communities of color, something D’Angelo says can be addressed by utilizing location in these neighborhoods. 

“My opinion is that community pharmacies are the perfect place for these underserved communities to go. For the most part, community pharmacies are the back bone of their communities. Everyone goes there for information, were the most accessible health care provider,” said D’Angelo.

As of now, Pharmacies will follow a phased rolled out plan, prioritizing the vaccines for those in the first group as they wait on more guidance from the state. 

The governor said that if Congress is to pass a coronavirus relief package, it must include funding for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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