Legislature Can Equip Pharmacists to Fight COVID-19
On June 3, the Iowa Legislature returned to Des Moines to finish the 2020 Legislative Session. Although much of the Legislature's work will focus on completing state budgets, there is still an opportunity to help equip pharmacists in the fight against COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iowa, pharmacists have been on the front lines providing essential healthcare services to patients across the state. Pharmacies have offered curbside pick-up, drive-thru and delivery services to ensure patients receive necessary medications in a safe manner, as well as administered long-acting injectable medications including behavioral health and birth control medications. With 90% of Americans living within five miles of a community pharmacy, pharmacists are among the nation's most accessible healthcare professionals.
Allowing pharmacists to provide all FDA-authorized vaccines will be essential if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. This expanded authority will also help reduce the backlog of routine immunizations that has resulted from delayed routine care due to COVID-19.
Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated, “Iowans are comfortable receiving immunizations from local pharmacists, as this has been routine in our state for over 15 years. Removing state-level restrictions is imperative for pharmacists to ensure access to a new COVID-19 vaccine in local communities when it becomes available.”