Retail Pharmacy Update: Interview with Ruth Link-Gelles – February 18, 2021

Regulation | February 18, 2021 | by Jill Schumann

Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, joined the LeadingAge Coronavirus Update call on February 18, 2021.

Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, joined the LeadingAge Coronavirus Update call on February 18, 2021. She engaged in conversation with Ruth Katz.

Q: Would you please give us an update on the Long Term Care Pharmacy Partnership?

A: So far we have delivered 6.25 million doses into arms. We are conducting third clinics in many states and anticipate that we will finish all three clinics in all states by the end of March. We have held clinics at 55,000 facilities so far and have been administering 10,000 doses a day.

Q: We understand that the LTC Pharmacy Partnership was designed to get a head start for vulnerable people in these settings, but we know CDC is now moving into a Retail Pharmacy Partnership (RPP). Please tell us about that program.

A: Yes, you are right the LTCPP was designed as a quick start and we are now moving to a longer-term, more sustainable approach and the RPP is ramping up. We have 21 pharmacy partners – some are major chains like Costco, Kroger, Publix, etc. and we also have pharmacy networks that include Long Term Care Pharmacies. LTC Pharmacies will be able to order down from the RPP supply of vaccine and will work with groups that have been part of the LTCPP and those that haven’t.

Q: Would PACE programs, for example, be able to participate?

A: As long as the vaccine is going to people who meet state criteria and the LTC Pharmacy is okay with it, doses can be used for PACE or other programs.

Q: Do these doses come directly from the federal government?

A: Yes, most vaccines go from the federal government to states, but there are some doses which will go straight from the federal government directly to pharmacy partners. That is the case with LTCPP and with RPP.

Q: What if your organization doesn’t have a relationship with a LTC Pharmacy and you want to hold a vaccination clinic – for example in an affordable housing community for older adults?

A: Right now the challenge is that there is a limited supply of vaccine. As the supply ramps up we will see more creative solutions which will likely include pharmacies willing to come onsite to do clinics. More mobile clinics will occur as there is more vaccine.

Q: If you are a housing provider, how would you find out which pharmacies can do vaccines and clinics?

A: You can go to the CDC website to see which pharmacies are activated in each state and can reach out directly to those pharmacies. However, we are not quite ramped up yet.

Q: Will adult day centers be included?

A: Yes, if people meet state eligibility criteria at that time.