|Posted:||April 20, 2020 10:01 AM|
|From:||Representative Seth M. Grove|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Leveraging Pharmacists to Expand Testing and Improve Public Health in the Fight against COVID-19|
|Across the country, communities are grappling with the crippling effects of, the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. While a vaccine against this deadly disease is still in the early stages of development, once available and for the sake of public health, it is crucial that the vaccine be easily accessible to the public in order to prevent the ongoing spread of this virus.
A newly published Forbes article outlines the vital role that pharmacists will have in helping to promote access to the forthcoming Coronavirus vaccine. Noting that historically, pharmacists have helped to significantly increase vaccination rates, lower overall healthcare costs, and contribute to meaningful improvements in public health, the article urges states to eliminate barriers to pharmacist-provided vaccines. In doing so, policies must empower pharmacists to administer all CDC recommended vaccines without a doctor’s prescription and without any needless, administrative burdens so that pharmacists can vaccinate patients against the Coronavirus – unfettered – just as they can do with the influenza vaccine. A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult found that, after learning more about the role of pharmacists, 86% of Americans say pharmacists should be allowed to provide a vaccine or other medication to protect against Coronavirus, when developed
In order to increase access to the vaccine for Pennsylvanians the moment it becomes available, I plan to introduce legislation which will allow pharmacists to administer a vaccine approved by the FDA in a manner which complies the rules and regulations established by the CDC. By increasing the accessibility of a vaccine, once approved, the commonwealth can leverage our skilled pharmacists as a force multiplier to save lives and improve public health.
Additionally, this legislation would leverage pharmacists to increase Pennsylvania’s ability to administer tests during a public health emergency. This includes administering a test to determine whether someone has contracted COVID-19. Pharmacists would also be allowed, during a declared disaster emergency for a communicable disease such as COVID-19, to administer any test waived by the FDA under federal law. In order to immediately expand during the time of a disaster declaration the commonwealth’s testing capabilities, this legislation will exempt pharmacists ordering a test from the 2-year requirement under the Clinical Laboratory Act. This exemption is only applicable during a disaster declaration for a communicable disease. However, by leveraging pharmacists we can make it easier for us to confront this deadly virus and safeguard our communities.
As we continue this difficult battle against COVID-19 we must leverage and use every aspect of our healthcare system, including pharmacists, to expand testing and access to a future vaccine. Please join me to cosponsor this legislation which will empower pharmacists to administer tests and a future vaccine for COVID-19 in a manner consistent with federal safety guidelines. Should you have any questions about the bill or wish to see the proposed draft language please contact Jordan Grant by email at Jgrant@pahousegop.com.
Introduced as HB2461