This time around, we wanted to talk about vaccine administration in Pharmacy. Pharmacies have been providing vaccinations for decades now (depending on your State).  In this time, many Pharmacies have implemented this into their workflow with relative ease.  Those were the good old pre-COVID-19 days. With the COVID-19 Vaccinator Provider Agreements and Pharmacies starting to receive the COVID-19 Vaccines, we are starting to receive more and more questions from Pharmacies about what they need to be doing to protect themselves and be compliant with their general State rules and their agreements.  These questions can typically fall into one of the areas we want to discuss below.  It is important to understand the below is a general outline and should be compared to your State Rules and any agreements you may have in place.

Do I need to be Credentialed?

First and foremost, your State Board of Pharmacy is responsible for the credentials and qualifications you must have before you are able to administer vaccines.

  • 20-hour certified Course with a live hands-on training skills assessment
  • Up-to-date CPR or BLS Certification
  • Liability Insurance (make sure it covers the administration of vaccines)
  • Ongoing C.E. Requirements
  • Apply to the Board of Pharmacy (Some States will require the Pharmacy and the Pharmacist to notify the Board)
  • Medicare Enrollment as a Pharmacy or Mass Immunizer (CMS-855B, or PECOS, or you may qualify for provisional enrollment (see the “Are you currently not enrolled as a Medicare provider?” here)

What about Pharmacy Interns and Technicians?

That will be different based on the State.  On October 20th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided updated guidance that gave Pharmacy Interns and Technicians a pathway to provide COVID-19 and childhood vaccines.  If you want more information on this guidance, read our December blog, Pharmacy Technician Immunization Administration.

Intake and Storage

Most vaccines have a temperature range to which they remain stable and viable, and outside of this range, they become unstable.  It is essential (and required) to monitor and track the temperatures in the refrigerator, freezer, and ultra-cold storage units.  This monitoring could be done with a pen and paper. A better option is a data logging system that automatically logs temperatures and alerts you when it is outside of the permissible range.

Administration and Documentation

Administering vaccines is not as simple as jabbing the patient.  There is a process that needs to be followed and documented.

  • Documenting Patient Information
  • Providing patient with Vaccine Information Sheet (or Vaccine Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers for COVID-19)
  • Obtaining and documenting patient consent
  • Documenting the vaccine provided (lot# and expiration)
  • Documenting the actual administration (needle information, method of injection (I.M. or S.C.), location of vaccination
  • Provide patient with the COVID-19 Vaccination Card
  • Schedule 2nd doses
  • Patient’s Pediatrician or PCP (Recommending the importance of a PCP/Pediatrician and the annual wellness visits)

Notification

It is also not over once you vaccinate the patient, you will need to notify the Protocol Physician, PCP, and the State Immunization Registry (sometimes called Immunization Information System (IIS)).  This requirement will typically have a time frame ranging from a day to up to a month.

Emergencies

How do you handle medical emergencies associated with the administration of vaccines?  Pharmacists will go over medical emergencies and how to deal with them as part of the certification.  If a medical emergency does occur, the Pharmacist will need to administer care, contact emergency services, notify the PCP/Pediatrician/Protocol Physician, and report the emergency to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Exposure Control Plan

The last thing a Pharmacy will need to be concerned with is OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards.  These standards require any employer that may expose their employees to bloodborne pathogens (such as administering vaccines) to have an Exposure Control Plan in place.  If you want more information on our Exposure Control Plans, read our September blog, Does your Pharmacy Need an Exposure Control Plan.

How can PRS Help?

Immunization and Exposure Control Plan

PRS’s ImmuTrack is designed to walk you through the process of setting up an efficient, effective, and safe immunization program in your Pharmacy. The Program provides Policies, Procedures, and Forms following best practice guidelines for the intake, storage, administration, documentation, and notification requirements.  The IMMUTrack program also contains an Exposure Control Plan, Forms, and Employee Training required for compliance with the Exposure Control Plan and OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards. It will help you meet State and Federal requirements as they relate to COVID-19.

Find more information about the PRS ImmuTrack Program, go here.

Exposure Control Plan

PRS’s COVID-19 and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan is designed to help Pharmacies implement their Exposure Control Plan.  The Program provides Policies, Procedures, Exposure Control Plan, Forms, and Employee Training required for compliance with the Exposure Control Plan and OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards. It will help you meet State and Federal requirements as they relate to COVID-19.

For more information about the PRS COVID-19 and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan, go here.

Pharmacy Technician Immunization Administration

PRS has partnered with the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) to offer a program designed to rapidly train Pharmacy technicians to administer COVID-19 vaccines and childhood vaccines.  Under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this new Program, developed by NPTA, is expected to train hundreds of thousands of Pharmacy technicians within the next few weeks to distribute this much-needed vaccine quickly.

You can find some additional information and a link to the Program here.