As countries of the world jostle for the acquisition of limited COVID-19 vaccines with developed nations having larger chunk of rolled out doses, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has urged governments to expand vaccination pathways by enacting policies that will enable pharmacists prescribe and administer vaccines.
Pharmacists under the aegis of Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN) have corroborated the FIP’s submission, asking the Federal Government to engage the services of licensed community pharmacists for effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive the country.
Acknowledging Federal Government’s statement on the administration of the vaccine to healthcare workers first on arrival, the CPAN National Chairman, Dr Joseph Madu, disclosed that the association is yet to receive any information from the government regarding the mode of distribution of the vaccine.
Speaking on behalf of the FIP through a statement obtained by Pharmanewsonline titled :” Intervention on provisional agenda item 14.1 COVID-19 response”, Ms Zuzana Kusynová described the crucial roles of pharmacists in vaccinations across the world.
She also mentioned the need to extend diagnostic testing of the infection to community pharmacists as a means of boosting capacity in the face of undertesting in many developing countries.
“With COVID-19 vaccines being given regulatory approval, it is vital for all countries to expand their vaccination pathways in order to deliver immunisation coverage as quickly as possible. Pharmacists are an important part of robust vaccination strategies.
” In fact, in at least 36 countries, pharmacists already play an active role in administering vaccinations, with proposals or regulatory developments for vaccinations in pharmacies in a further 16 countries. In light of the benefits to us all, FIP urges policymakers to enact the enabling legislation to allow pharmacists to prescribe and administer vaccines.
“COVID-19 diagnostic testing remains an important aspect in controlling this pandemic. It should be conducted by trained healthcare professionals with the appropriate skills to perform the test, interpret its result and advise on the appropriate action”, she submitted.
She therefore emphasized FIP’s position maintaining that community pharmacists can play active roles in diagnostic testing by providing tests and testing information to the public.
Kusynová observed that pharmacists are already participating in screening strategies through point-of-care tests in several countries.
Acknowledging efforts of pharmacists in collaborating with other health professionals in delivering infection prevention strategies to world’s population,, she reiterated FIP’s plea to governments.
“We call on governments to enact the legislation necessary to support pharmacists in their contribution to bringing this pandemic to an end”, she insisted.
In an exclusive interview with Pharmanewsonline, Madu appreciated the use of community clinical pharmacists in creating awareness on COVID-19, but craved for their further engagement in vaccine administration.
He said: “When the vaccines become available, licensed and registered community pharmacists should also be utilized to make the vaccination administration more accessible to the public, just as it is currently done in the US, UK etc.”.