Published December 18, 2020
An executive order approved Dec. 13 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will waive the 90-day waiting period for pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer COVID-19 vaccines after their approval, allowing pharmacists across the state to play a greater role in ending the pandemic, say UB pharmacy experts Karl Fiebelkorn and Christopher Daly.
Community pharmacists in urban, suburban, and especially rural parts of New York State are crucial to helping the health care community maximize the impact of vaccination initiatives, says pharmacy business and legal expert Karl Fiebelkorn, senior associate dean for student, professional and community affairs in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
“People trust their local pharmacist,” says Fiebelkorn. “Pharmacists are skilled at building health care relationships across the community. This ability, along with their accessible position to the public, will be key to vaccine education and statewide vaccine success.”
Fiebelkorn and other faculty in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have advocated for the policy change individually and through New York State professional organizations, as well as through outreach to New York State Assembly member John T. McDonald III of District 108, who is also a pharmacist. Fiebelkorn personally wrote a letter to Cuomo.
Because of the legislation, UB pharmacy students — who are highly trained to provide immunizations — will also play an active role in distributing the vaccine, says community pharmacy innovation expert Christopher Daly, clinical assistant professor.
Students employed as pharmacy interns in chain and independent community pharmacies across New York State will be directly involved in their pharmacy’s vaccination initiatives. The UB pharmacy school has led the state’s training of pharmacists as immunizers since the mid-2000s, and is a statewide leader in vaccination training, says Daly.
“Allowing pharmacists and pharmacy students to administer the vaccine significantly increases the vaccine distribution workforce, and will allow many more New York State residents to receive the vaccine easily, safely and effectively over the coming months,” he says.