Harrisburg, PA – Pharmacists who are licensed by the Department of State will now be able to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order when vaccines are available to the public. Vaccines are not widely available yet.
Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that the commonwealth has activated Phase B of the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, to expand its mission to include personal care and assisted living facilities, among others, throughout Pennsylvania. The department also requested the federal government launch the Retail Pharmacy Partnership with two retail partners, TopCo Associates, LLC and Rite Aid, to expand access to vaccinate health care personnel, and eventually other phases of the state’s vaccine plan. The Federal Pharmacy Partnership has two phases: Phase A for skilled nursing facilities and Phase B for other long-term care facilities.”
“We are committed to ensuring that vaccine is getting to Pennsylvanians as quickly as manufacturers get it to us,” Dr. Levine said. “Both of these partnerships will help vaccinate our most vulnerable residents and the people who care for them more quickly so that we can move to other groups in our communities. The important thing for Pennsylvanians to remember is that there are limited supplies of vaccine available and our vaccine providers are working as quickly as possible to immunize those in Phase 1A as we look to move forward into other phases.”
In Pennsylvania, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residents, personal care homes and other long-term care facility types are all part of Phase 1A of the state’s interim vaccination plan.
The federal Pharmacy Partnership prioritized those in skilled nursing facilities because this community has been impacted the most by COVID-19. By requesting to now include those in personal care and assisted living facilities, Pennsylvania hopes to complete this mission as soon as possible. By the end of this week, 489 skilled nursing facilities will have had at least one clinic. This mission is being accomplished through CVS and Walgreens.
Launching the Retail Pharmacy Partnership will allow more pharmacies to immunize individuals following the phased timeline laid out by the state when more vaccine becomes available. To begin with there will be approximately 110 TopCo member-owned retail locations and 60 Rite Aid locations in areas across the state that will be vaccinating health care personnel in Phase 1A. Those eligible to be vaccinated should visit the state’s vaccine provider map beginning next week for more information. Eventually, these locations will be able to immunize those in other phases of the state’s vaccine plan.
“We are pleased to partner with community-based pharmacies across the state to ensure all Pennsylvanians have access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Levine said. “We know that in some communities, vaccine providers have been able to move more quickly through Phase 1A than others. These vaccine providers should ensure that they have indeed vaccinated all nonaffiliated health care providers before they move into other phases. We all have the same goal of getting Pennsylvania immunized as quickly as possible and no provider has been told to stop vaccinating.
“It is important that all Pennsylvanians remember that we are currently in Phase 1A, and we need to be patient. We are actively planning to move to Phase 1B, but we cannot let our guard down. We must continue to mask up, wash up and social distance.”
Topco is a member-owned company that provides aggregation, innovation and knowledge management solutions for its leading food industry member-owners and customers including retailers, wholesalers and food service. Within their solutions portfolio, Topco offers an expansive pharmacy program that services member-owners with state-wide partnership. These organizations include Giant Eagle, Price Chopper, Redner’s Markets, ShopRite, Tops Markets, Wegman’s Food Markets and Weis Markets.
A map of enrolled vaccine providers is available on the department’s website. The TopCo and Rite Aid locations will be added next week with information on how to register, based on the phase being vaccinated at that time. It is important to note that providers with a red pin have not received vaccine at this time.
A spreadsheet of facilities that have received vaccine through January 13 be found here. A spreadsheet of clinics scheduled at skilled nursing facilities for the week of January 10-16 is available here.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
· Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
· Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
· Clean surfaces frequently.
· Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
· If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics
· Photos of the state’s lab in Exton (for download and use)
· Coronavirus and preparedness graphics (located at the bottom of the page)
All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.