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COVID-19 Vaccines – A Message from IPA’s CEO

Our time now is undoubtedly history in the making – For our world, and for our profession. Not only because of the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists are a key solution to reaching the end of the pandemic timeline.
 
Our time now is undoubtedly history in the making – For our world, and for our profession. Not only because of the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists are a key solution to reaching the end of the pandemic timeline.

The courageousness that our profession has already shown with the initial roll-out of COVID vaccine to our hospitals and health-systems is exceptional and is no surprise. While tremendous work is already happening, we will need to dig deep for resilience, courage, and creativity to persist through the long road ahead.

Vaccines alone don't save lives; vaccinators save lives. And it will be Iowa pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists that save lives through performing these vaccinations safely and efficiently. Iowa's pharmacy professionals are positioned to speed up vaccine administration.

The pharmacy profession's role will continue to grow and will be at the center of mass immunization efforts. IPA is advocating on your behalf to decrease barriers and get vaccine supply to pharmacies and pharmacy departments. Dedicated focus, collaboration, flexibility, agility, and radical commitment to vaccination efforts will save lives and get us closer to safe human reconnection we all yearn for.


Be Prepared
Over 500 Iowa pharmacies have been approved as COVID vaccine administration sites across the state. In the early phases of vaccine distribution (1a currently), pharmacy's participation varies county to county. Some local public health (LPH) agencies have fully utilized pharmacy, others partner with some, but not all pharmacy providers, while some LPH have not yet collaborated with pharmacy. We also know that some local pharmacies have been tapped recently to step in and vaccinate their local LTC facilities.

Even if your pharmacy is not involved in COVID vaccination today, you can still be involved in COVID vaccination preparation, advocacy and education. You may be called in tomorrow.

You may need to be the one to push your team to plan and act swiftly. Each one of you is a leader and can make a meaningful difference in these efforts. Start by:
  • Educating yourself. Reach out to IPA for what you need to feel comfortable with vaccine handling, administration, and management of potential adverse reactions.
  • Advocating for the profession. Share your knowledge and expertise with those around you.
  • Mobilize your teams.
  • Educating your patients and your communities. Update your social media pages and websites with timely information from your county, IPA and IDPH. Your knowledgeable voice will reduce vaccine hesitancy, alleviate fear, and increase understanding of the plan in your county.
  • Collaborating in traditional and non-traditional ways. Use your known networks and reach out to others for their ideas and assistance. In particular, coordinate with your county public health.
  • Planning in advance and simulating processes to prepare, distribute, administer, and report.
  • Beginning the first day of vaccinations conservatively to work out processes, but once you know how the processes will go, do not hold back. Vaccines cannot sit on shelves.
  • Communicating the urgency: choosing courage over comfort.

All Hands on Deck

Immunizing the state and country against the novel coronavirus is a monumental task that lies ahead. It will take all hands on deck. As vaccine supply becomes more widely available, and additional segments of Iowa's population are eligible, all providers will be needed to ensure vaccination is convenient and accessible.
 

Iowa – On Track & Ahead of Other States
While Iowa is currently ranked 35th in doses of COVID-19 vaccine distributed (per 100,000 people), our rate of vaccination is 23rd for people with at least 1 dose administered (per 100,000 people). It is critically important vaccine providers report doses expediently as timely reporting impacts the formula for distribution to our state.  
 

Help Us Help You – 2 Quick Surveys
As IPA continues to advocate on your behalf, we need data to represent the full picture of what our members are experiencing related to COVID vaccination. Please complete these if you have not already:
  • Individual COVID-19 Vaccination Status – For pharmacists, technicians, and students receiving the vaccine: LINK HERE
  • Pharmacies Administering COVID-19 Vaccine – For pharmacies part of the local public health distribution in your county: LINK HERE

All of us came to this profession for a reason. Whether you feel you were born to do this, or you never thought you'd have to deal with a crisis of this scale, we are all here together and we will overcome it. You have what it takes. Now let's get out there and create history!

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