University of Findlay’s College of Pharmacy and Telehealth Center is taking an active role in fighting the COVID pandemic. The Telehealth Center has been selected to assist in developing a team to administer COVID-19 vaccines in collaboration with a large multi-state company that manages long-term care facilities. This allows an increased delivery to the country’s most vulnerable individuals.
The company, which would like to remain anonymous, already has an established relationship with UF, reached out to John Stanovich, special assistant to the dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Sothea Phon-Xue, director of medication therapy management and telehealth center, to form a COVID-19 vaccination team. According to Phon-Xue, “they needed help getting many of their pharmacists certified for immunization administration. They knew UF’s College of Pharmacy could provide that training and already has an immunization team that goes out to local employers to administer influenza vaccines to employees. This was a logical expansion of the strengths we already have in place.”
This corporation has long-term care operations in five different states and has asked that Stanovich and Phon-Xue’s team focus on Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. “We expect there will be approximately 50,000 to 100,000 doses of the vaccine needed to administer within their operations. Individuals receiving the vaccine include long-term care residents, staff, and healthcare personnel,” said Stanovich.
“At this point in time, we do not know when we are leaving, where exactly we’ll be going, and who will all be able to help,” said Stanovich. “It’s kind of a moving target. There are a lot of dynamics and things that are changing every minute as we look to find ways to get the vaccine out and get it into the arms of patients.” As of now, Stanovich and Phon-Xue believe they will have a team of close to 200 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students.
“This is just tier one, this is the first release of the vaccine. Not a lot of vaccine is being distributed right now compared to what is needed, but developing this team also gives us the opportunity to fulfill the need for immunizers in tier two and whatever tiers follow after this,” said Stanovich. Eventually the goal is for UF’s immunization team to assist employers with getting their employees vaccinated for COVID-19 onsite just as they do with influenza vaccines.
“The opportunity for our team members to provide a significant service to the patient populations that are out there is incredible,” said Phon-Xue. “Pharmacists need to step up and recognize they have a valuable skillset right now that is needed by this country in order to get people vaccinated.”
For any communities that may want to organize and setup mass immunization clinics, health insurance companies that want to offer immunization to their covered lives, health departments needing help with vaccine administration to underserved patient populations and so on, UF’s immunization team is available to help.
To learn more about Findlay’s Pharmacy Program, visit the Pharmacy webpage. If you, a pharmacist, pharmacy technician, or a pharmacy student you know are able to join the UF College of Pharmacy and Telehealth Center’s vaccination team please contact either team leader at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.