CEO discusses role pharmacies play in flu, future COVID-19 vaccines

CEO discusses role pharmacies play in flu, future COVID-19 vaccines
CEO discusses role pharmacies play in flu, future COVID-19 vaccines (Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine is inevitable, according to developers.

When it happens, your local pharmacy is likely to play a significant role according to Steven Anderson, the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

“Ninety percent of the American people live within five miles of one of our member company stores, so we are the most accessible health care professionals in the country,” said Anderson on a Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce Stakeholders conference call.

Brookshire Brother’s pharmacist Brice Coffman is among 155,000 pharmacists connected to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

“We’ve seen a steady rise in the public’s awareness of the pharmacy being an easy go-to source for vaccines,” said Coffman.

“Obviously, anything still under development, there’s a lot of unanswered questions, so we’re kind of playing a wait and see attitude, just like the public is, to see which direction the COVID vaccine is going to go.”

Anderson pointed out, “Getting 330 million Americans immunized is extraordinarily complicated, as you might guess.”

For instance, The Pfizer experimental vaccine has to be held under minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature most pharmacies are incapable of doing.

“Not all vaccines will be at that level,” said Anderson.

With patience more vaccines will surface with less stringent restrictions. In the meantime, the advisor on numerous COVID-19 boards is pushing the importance of flu vaccines.

“And the idea of having a ‘twindemic’ between flu and COVID is really not going to be good for our country,” warns Anderson.

Anderson and pharmacists warn if flu numbers are as high as they were last year, it could easily exhaust an already fatigued health care system.

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