We are all aware of the ongoing efforts to create a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccines and that one or more may become available within the next several months. As a result, there is an abundance of information now circulating on how to prepare for the vaccination process.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee. The Subcommittee has two pharmacist members – Kerry LaPlante, Pharm.D. from URI and a RISHP member and Eugenio Fernandez, Pharm.D., a member of RIPA from Asthenis Pharmacy. This Subcommittee has been reaching out to hospitals, RISHP and RIPA within the State to assist with the vaccination plan.
Part of that plan has included referencing the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations. A link has been included here.
Members of the RISHP Board became acutely aware last week of two pharmacist-specific sections within the “Playbook”. Those two sections are Section 5 and Appendix F. The most concerning issue to pharmacists is the statement within Appendix F “the licensed pharmacist must complete a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, immunization-related continuing pharmacy education during each State licensing period” .
The RISHP Board of Directors has taken the following actions on behalf of our members:
- Board President Mark Rogers has reached out to Peter Ragosta at the Board of Pharmacy (BOP) concerning the two CE requirement, which differs from our RI BOP and RIDOH requirements. We have received clarification that the two CE hours is NOT an issue for the State of RI. The State already states pharmacists as qualified and we can continue to administer under these regulations. Amy St. Amand, RISHP Board Member for Legislation will continue to monitor BOP actions.
- Standing Alternate Delegate Martha Roberts has reached out to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) of which RISHP is an affiliate member. The Board’s concerns that the pharmacist is the only practitioner with specific requirements for immunization practices within the “Playbook” was expressed to ASHP. Martha urged ASHP to address this concern during their federal lobbying and legislative meetings.
- RISHP member Kerry LaPlante has also provided key guidance to the Board during this time.
We will continue to share information with the membership as quickly as it is received. We would also like each member to consider how they may be able to assist in upcoming vaccination efforts through-out the State. A survey is being planned.