The COVID-19 Vaccine: Pharmacies Need a Communication Plan
November 30th, 2020
Pharmacies will be vital in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once it’s available, how will pharmacies effectively communicate with consumers?
A COVID-19 vaccine could be available very soon. Multiple pharmaceutical companies are moving forward with seeking authorization from the FDA (Federal Drug Administration). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a partnership with independent and chain pharmacies to distribute the vaccine when approved.
For pharmacy to play its role in distribution, you’ll need to develop a communication plan for patients and consumers in your area. We’ll tell you how.
U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
There are currently several vaccines in trials, but the FDA has not approved any thus far. Here’s what we know right now:
- Pfizer and BioNTech: The third phase of the trial concluded on November 18. According to their press release, it meets all the primary efficacy endpoints is 95% effective. The vaccine met the FDA’s safety data milestones requirements, with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) the next step. One caveat of the Pfizer vaccine is the requirement for storage at -94 degrees.
- Moderna: The company announced it met primary efficacy analysis in phase three, showing a 94.1% effective rate. On November 30, Moderna requested EUA from the FDA.
How Soon Could Vaccines Be Ready?
There is much speculation about timing, and it depends on if the FDA approves the EUAs submitted by the vaccine producers. After approval, vaccines could be available within weeks. However, logistics seem murky on how the vaccine will be accessible.
Who Would Get Vaccines First?
According to reports, there is division around who should get the vaccine first. STAT News reports that U.S. officials have differing positions. Some say those over 65 should be the first recipients, specifically those living in LTC facilities. Others, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), recommend healthcare workers be priority. These bodies cite the fact that over 230,000 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19, with 822 deaths.
How Will Pharmacies Communicate When Mass Vaccines Become Available?
The initial doses of the vaccine will likely be earmarked for certain groups. After that, a broad availability will follow in 2021. If your pharmacy plans to be part of the vaccination program, you’ll need to get the word out, so there’s no room for misinformation.
Your communications might include facts about the vaccine, the administration process, and who qualifies. A second communication may need to follow to define how patients can schedule a vaccination.
While pharmacies are likely to use digital channels to communicate, they may not cover the entire community. Sending first-class letters is a proven way to get the message out. Not only can you send letters to your patient database, but you could also extend your reach by mailing those to individuals in certain zip codes.
These pharmacy print and direct mail services are available through Printwerks. Additionally, you may want to add new signage to your pharmacy regarding the vaccine process. We have the capabilities to provide those as well.
Learn More About Printwerks Services
Communicating with your patients and community is critical during a healthcare crisis. Leverage our solutions to streamline this with ease. Check out what we can do for your pharmacy.