March 16, 2021
By Tom Kraus, Vice President of Government Relations, ASHP
We’ve reached an important milestone in combatting the COVID-19 global pandemic: there are now three viable vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in the US. All three FDA-authorized vaccines have – based on the available evidence – proven efficacious in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
Now is the time for any and all individuals to obtain whichever vaccine is immediately available to them to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, support the establishment of herd immunity, and effectively respond to the pandemic.
To do this, we must counter any misperceptions about the vaccines that may compromise public acceptance. As a result, ASHP recently called for:
- Widespread use and acceptance of all vaccines currently authorized by FDA. It is imperative to capitalize on the promise these vaccines offer as soon as possible. While there are slight differences with each vaccine, including clinical outcomes, adverse effects, and storage and handling considerations, they are all significantly effective in reducing severe symptoms, decreasing hospitalizations, and decreasing death from COVID-19. These vaccines hold promise to lessen the burden of disease and death in our communities and ease the strain on our healthcare system. It is understandable that patients have questions about the vaccines, so health care professionals should support patients’ understanding and comfort by sharing knowledge about the vaccines, showing confidence in the vaccines, and counter myths that may lead to hesitancy or misinformation.
- Equitable allocation of any vaccine across populations and communities, prioritized for the greatest public health impact, regardless of geographic or economic status. Each vaccine demonstrated a benefit to all populations evaluated for the emergency use authorization by FDA; therefore, any vaccine administered is an effective countermeasure to COVID-19. While logistical demands for the storage and handling of each vaccine may warrant allocation to a particular point of dispensing, there is no acceptable reason to allocate a vaccine solely based on population differences or socioeconomic status.
As health care professionals, all pharmacists need to be aware of the current misinformation circulating about the vaccines and be prepared to answer patient questions.
Pharmacists can learn more at ASHP.org or encourage the inclusion of a pharmacist on the White House Health Equity Task Force to make our voice heard by signing this online petition: https://www.change.org/p/dr-marcella-nunez-smith-chair-covid-19-health-equity-task-force-call-for-appointment-of-pharmacy-professionals-to-president-s-covid-19-health-equity-task.