Coronavirus

Deregulate Pharmacists Now To Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake

It's time to unleash America's 88,000 pharmacies and 314,000 pharmacists to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

|

Enabling tens of millions of Americans to get themselves speedily vaccinated against COVID-19 will be a huge logistics challenge. A new policy brief from the Mercatus Center, a think tank at George Mason University, argues that we could greatly accelerate the process by removing the complex state regulations that prevent pharmacists from administering vaccines.

There's a good chance we'll need those vaccines to end the pandemic. Herd immunity is the resistance you get to the spread of a contagious disease when a sufficiently high proportion of a population is immune to the illness; you can reach it through either mass infection or mass vaccination.

Epidemiologists generally estimate that the COVID-19 threshold for herd immunity is around 60 to 70 percent. Some researchers believe the number may be much lower than that, but even then we aren't necessarily near the threshold: Recent testing of nearly 1 million American blood donors from June 15 to August 23 for COVID-19 antibodies finds that only 1.82 percent had them.

Blood donations aren't a random sample of the population, of course. But in congressional testimony earlier this week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Robert Redfield noted that his agency "is in the process of a very large, sequential study across the entire United States" to measure the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus; the stufy will be finalized and likely "published in the next week or so." According to Redfield, "The preliminary results on the first round show that a majority of our nation—more than 90 percent of the population—remains susceptible" to the novel coronavirus.

So if mass infection isn't about the get us there, tens of millions of American will need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against the virus. In congressional testimony earlier this week, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci said that he believes that the U.S. will have produced enough doses of a coronavirus vaccine to distribute to every American by April.

But who will give us those shots? While most states already allow pharmacists to administer many vaccines, regulators have unnecessarily imposed a variety of age restrictions on which patients pharmacists may vaccinate and individual patient prescription requirements.

The Mercatus Center report recommends that state regulators relax age restrictions on pharmacist-administered vaccinations; issue statewide standing orders authorizing pharmacists to administer vaccines without requiring a physician-written prescription for each patient; and revise regulations, as Oregon has, to permit pharmacists to administer all of the vaccines recommended by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The latter recommendation "prevents lag in vaccine administration due to boards or legislatures having to approve individually named vaccines for pharmacist administration."

Herd immunity is a big goal. Now is the time to unleash America's 88,000 pharmacies and 314,000 pharmacists to reach it.

NEXT: Sixth Circuit Rejects Claim Covid-19 Requires Easing of Ballot Initiative Rules

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Given the storage and stability issues with the current COVID vaccine contenders it is highly unlikely they could be administered in any ordinary retail pharmacy, probably not in your GP’s office either.

    1. I think the bigger issue is that a lot of people don’t trust the vaccine, and even if they do they see no reason to bother with it.

      I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine and I haven’t had the flu in at least a decade. Knowing what I know about COVID I probably won’t bother with that vaccine either. I’m not going to die if I get COVID, I probably won’t experience any real symptoms at all, why bother with a rushed vaccine?

      If other people want to get vaccinated because people like me exist, go for it.

      1. “I’m not going to die if I get COVID”

        If you’re a kid, that’s 100% true. If you’re older, there is maybe a very small chance you could die of COVID. Your daily consumption of fried chicken, bacon, and donuts is more likely to take you out.

        1. Yeah, …

          “In an Aug. 7 review of 208 children and adolescents hospitalized with covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 69 (33.2 percent) required intensive care and 12 (5.8 percent) were put on ventilators. One child died.”

          “Children are much more likely to die of homicides (there were 1,865 in 2016, according to government data), drowning (995) or even fires and burns (340).”

          Yeah, the kid who died would have been drowned his mother, and then burned in a barrel by his father.

          Its not that children don’t die, its just they are unlikely to die themselves, but will kill a bunch of parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers if the number of family and friends are large enough.

          1. That’s categorically false, but if you want to live in fear your whole life go for it.
            You try to impose it on the rest of us, and you forfeit your right to life.

          2. You should never leave the house.

            1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…CMs after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

              Here’s what I do…>> CashApp

        2. which is WHY I don’t eat donuts, breaded fried chikkin, especially fried in hydrogenated fats, and my bacon is in small doses and good clean stuff, not the processed chemical soup. Besides, the natural animal fat is healthy for us, in reasonable doses.

          Im still far more likely to die of the few such things I do eat eachyear, than of the silly Chinavirus. And I am solidly in the “danger zone” in regards age, have had asthma since about nine, but weigh wihtin ten pounds of when I graduated high school, a skinny runt of a kid then, and still wear the same size clothing. Never had a flu vaccine, never got the flu. When others around me share their viral cold bugs, I might be under the weather for a day or so, a bit snuffly, tired, but still fully functional as those who were so generous with their own microbes are laid out flat for a week or more with their sickness. I can still hop on a road bike and knock off fifty miles nonstop in well under four hours.
          Imma not skeered a dat chinavirus thing. An I ain’t a gonna git no vaccine fro that one. either.

          1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…DFv after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

            Here’s what I do…>> Click here

      2. Plus the vaccine is probably going to have a higher mortality rate than COVID-19 for most people.

      3. “I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine and I haven’t had the flu in at least a decade.”

        I’ve read that flu vaccines, and vaccines in general, are only 10% effective if one is over 70.

    2. US Dollar Rain Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by google fantastic job oppertunity provide for our community pepoles who,s already using facebook to earn money 85000$ every month and more through facebook and google new project to create money at home withen few hours.Everybody can get this job now and start earning online by just open this link VISIT HERE FOR FULL DETAIL

  2. With the potential for reinfection being only a matter of months I’m not sure a vaccine would prove effective unless you actively force a majority of people to get the vaccine in a short time frame. Any widespread resistance and it becomes a semi-annual whack-a-mole like annual flu shots.

    I am hopeful that this study will produce some effective treatments however.

    1. the potential for reinfection is pretty close to zero. most of those who thought they were reinfected really still had the infection from before. i’ve heard there was one confirmed case of reinfection, but i’ve heard that before.

      1. I agree we don’t know the potential for reinfection given there are only two confirmed cases of which I’m aware, one in Hong Kong and one in Reno, Nevada. In both cases there were different variants of the virus so it wasn’t a matter of still having the original infection.

        Of course different variants also means the virus is mutating rather quickly and it’s clear having immunity to “type A” doesn’t confer immunity to “type B”. Yes, it’s still too early to tell but it sure is starting to look like the beginning of a nasty game of whack-a-mole.

        1. Looks like there are more in Europe.

  3. What about the ignorant hicks and rural gun clingers who refuse to get a vaccine because they believe Jeebus is gonna protect them? Vaccines need to be mandatory and those who refuse should be fined or imprisoned! We need herd immunity NOW to protect American citizens, especially those undocumented Americans and racial minorities who don’t have equal access to necessary health care because of systemic racism.

    1. Yeah! And what about ignorant rubes like Kamala Harris and Joe Biden who say they don’t trust the vaccine because Trump was President when it was developed? Fine or imprison them!

    2. Silly Rabbi, the way to get herd immunity is to herd everyone together. Why even bother “offering” a vaccine under pain of imprisonment? Just cut to the chase already.

      1. one of my fave kid jokes ended in “silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids”

            1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…FGb after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

              Here’s what I do…>>Cashapp

  4. >>Enabling tens of millions of Americans to get themselves speedily vaccinated against COVID-19 will be a …

    giant waste of time and money.

    1. hey, someone’s gotta test the virus for side effects

  5. Here we go again, Reason.

    A safe and effective vaccine takes more than a decade to develop.

    There vaccine has never been developed for a coronavirus.

    The rushed H1N1 vaccine, for a pandemic that wasn’t, resulted in hundred of people injured, even to the point of brain damage.

    “Now is the time to unleash America’s 88,000 pharmacies and 314,000 pharmacists to reach [herd immunity].”

    No. Now is the time to end the lock downs while protecting the vulnerable to reach herd immunity.

    Take your rushed Big Pharma products peddled by paid pharmacists and shove them up your ass.

  6. Ron, don’t listen to the Trumptards. Thank you for your honest reporting as usual, Dr. Bailey.

    1. he has been wrong at almost every point. The few studies he chose to promote were retracted or unpublished. Hilarious.

      1. He’s not just wrong. He also doesn’t proofread his work before posting it.

    2. He is not a medical doctor nor a PhD

      He has a BA in philosophy and economics.

  7. Since a fully tested and safe vaccine is unlikely before next year, just end the lockdowns and stupid rules so people can continue on with their lives. If you vote for and elect Biden you’re going to get it even worse because that old man is being preyed on and used by some very nasty people who want back in power at any cost.

    1. Since a fully tested and safe vaccine is unlikely before next year 2030, just end the lockdowns and stupid rules so people can continue on with their lives.

      FTFY.

      1. And lack of an edit feature on Reason finally gets me.

  8. I am trying to sort out what seems to be a logical disconnect. Lots of my neighbors seem to be ardent mask supporters, and whine about people ignoring mandates as selfish and dangerous.

    But they have also stated they will not get any COVID vaccine until some unreasonably imaginary standards are met.

    I think I want to tell them they are full of shit, at least in that they support mask mandates because the safety of everyone is more important than individual rights but they claim individual rights to resist the vaccine that would actually make everyone safe.

    Yes?

    1. “resist the vaccine that would actually make everyone safe.”

      Except no. It won’t do that. It will be ineffective and will have serious side effects.

    2. they are afraid of their own shadows, and afraid of COVID-19. of course they are afraid of a vaccine.

    3. It’s because they think the drug makers will hold back the “good stuff” until somebody makes them give it up, and will peddle shoddy vaccine until then.

    4. It’s because politics and desired beliefs are what is driving COVID issues, responses, and positions. Almost no one is actually looking at the facts of the disease.

  9. US Dollar Rain Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by google fantastic job oppertunity provide for our community pepoles who,s already using facebook to earn money 85000$ every month and more through facebook and google new project to create money at home withen few hours.Everybody can get this job now and start earning online by just open this link and then go through instructions to get started……….HERE….Click For Full Detail.

  10. The number of people pharmacists are prohibited from vaccinating is much smaller than the number they refuse to vaccinate.

    For example, asking about egg allergies merely informs anyone giving a shot the warning that the patient might go into shock, and doctor’s nurses will ask if the patient wants the shot anyway, znd if they say yes, they’ll be ready to jab them with antihistamine and send them to urgent care for monitoring. The pharmacy can do the same, but they’ll have a patient on the floor in public view ntil EMTs arrive instead of in a private clinic office. Not great publicity for the drug or department store trying to get customers in by offering vaccinations plus $5 coupons.

  11. You had me at “deregulate pharmacists”.

  12. So the challenge here is that vaccine that is being rushed “warp speed” into release, which may or may not be safe or effective, and has no liability to the manufacturer, doesn’t have enough people to administer it?

  13. Good deal buster…you can lead the parade of numbskulls taking an unproven vaccine that might be 40% effective if you don’t die first from all the crap they add in. Warp speed vaccines are a recipe for disaster since no coronavirus vaccine has ever been made and vaccines usually take on average 10 years to make safe. That still doesn’t mean they are safe and are effective. That is Big Pharma’s dirty little secret.

  14. US Dollar Rain Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by google fantastic job oppertunity provide for our community pepoles who,s already using facebook to earn money 85000$ every month and more through facebook and google new project to create money at home withen few hours.Everybody can get this job now and start earning online by just open this link VISIT HERE FOR FULL DETAIL

  15. Let’s say a vaccine becomes available next year. Could I get a dose by March? Seems unlikely. Maybe August at best. I would also still have grave concerns about the rush job. Let’s say I took it and it worked. I developed antibodies to the current strain and was effectively immune… until I wasn’t because the virus mutated. Or, maybe it was more permanent like the measles vaccine. All good, except pandemic experts says we can expect many more such bugs over the next few decades.

    At some point, don’t we just have to go on with our lives, choose our battles (like an Ebola), and otherwise learn to live with the losses until science comes up with a way to prevent or easily cure these things. Those who are at real or perceived risk may have to live a sheltered life until that time. Only a thriving economy will advanced the technology necessary to address these matters once and for all. Some may need to find jobs that allow them to work from home. UBI might need to be on the table, at least for a transition period. If not, we may just live in an endless cycle of lockdowns. Hard to see that ending well.

  16. Pharmacists would far better serve the public by advising on a shortlist of ndietary supplements essential to immune system health. Why continue to swat at the unseeable virus, test to see if he’s lurking in your refrigerator or under your bed, when you can bulletproof your body for a few sents a day so that if he DOES pop round for a visit your own natural immune system will give him the ol’ heave ho, prevening it from making YOU sick. This information is clinically proven effecive, is cheap, harmless, well known, and for almost everyone, maybe EVEN everyone, harmless. NO haramful side effects, no reactions, no billioin dollar research programmes, no huge quantity of profits to the pharma industry. Oh, wait, now THAT’s a problem, idnit? Oh well… guess we can’t go rockin the boat this week.

  17. Getting paid easily every month from home by doing very easy and simple job from home. I have received my 3rd paycheck of $19852 last month from this home based easy job in part time. Every person can get this job and start making real cash online by follow details here… Read More  

  18. Single Mom With 4 Kids Lost Her Job and…READ MORE

  19. Poor Bailey. He really believes that there is a Wuhanvirus problem that requires precautions different than seasonal Flu/Cold.

  20. There is no vaccine. Yet.

    Find it.

    Therefore there is not much to talk about.

    Of course when a safe and effective vaccine is available pharmacists, nurses and others should be able to jab it into your arm or whatever.

    Is this a question?

  21. Pharmacists are nothing more than over-educated pill dispensers now. Few have actual training or experience in dealing with hands-on medical procedures or dealing with medical emergencies that can occur with injections. They are the absolutely wrong vehicle for distributing a novel vaccine.

    1. It is not neurosurgery. Giving injections can be learned in one short course. In my state pharmacists and pharmacy techs need to complete a continuing Education course. That includes the very rare yet serious event of how to react if acute anaphylactic reaction occurs.

  22. My understanding is you don’t (necessarily) need antibodies to be immune. Antibodies tend to fade away after 90-ish days: they’re expensive for your body to produce so why keep producing them? What keeps you immune are the T-cells which can rapidly start producing antibodies if a given virus re-appears.

    Again, that’s my understanding and I’m not a doctor. I assume people are beavering away at confirming this is how we react to the coronavirus.

    This makes me question some of the reported studies. They’re relentlessly focusing on antibodies and that sounds like a red herring. What we should be focusing on is whether we have a trained immune system and how long that training lasts. I’m sure that’s much harder than measuring antibodies. Doesn’t mean measuring antibodies tells us much which is useful.

Please to post comments