HHS Authorizes Qualified Pharmacy Technicians and State-Authorized Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Childhood and COVID-19 Vaccines

On October 21, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it had authorized qualified pharmacy technicians and State-authorized pharmacy interns to administer childhood vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines (when available), and COVID-19 tests, subject to certain conditions. This guidance expands the HHS September 2020 authorization allowing pharmacists to administer childhood vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines. The requirements applicable to pharmacy technicians and authorized pharmacy interns include, among other things:

  • The vaccination must be ordered by the supervising qualified pharmacist.
  • The supervising qualified pharmacist must be readily and immediately available to the immunizing qualified pharmacy technicians.
  • The vaccine must be FDA-authorized or FDA-licensed.
  • In the case of a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination must be ordered and administered according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) COVID-19 vaccine recommendation(s).
  • In the case of a childhood vaccine, the vaccination must be ordered and administered according to ACIP’s standard immunization schedule.
  • The qualified pharmacy technician or State-authorized pharmacy intern must complete a practical training program that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). This training program must include a hands-on injection technique and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.
  • The qualified pharmacy technician or State-authorized pharmacy intern must have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • The qualified pharmacy technician must complete a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, immunization-related continuing pharmacy education during the relevant State licensing period(s).
  • The supervising qualified pharmacist must comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the jurisdiction in which he or she administers vaccines, including informing the patient’s primary care provider when available and submitting the required immunization information to the State or local immunization information system (vaccine registry).
  • The supervising pharmacist is responsible for complying with requirements related to reporting adverse events.
  • The supervising qualified pharmacist must review the vaccine registry or other vaccination records prior to ordering the vaccination to be administered by the qualified pharmacy technician or State-authorized pharmacy intern. 
  • The qualified pharmacy technician and State-authorized pharmacy intern must, if the patient is 18 years of age or younger, inform the patient and the adult caregiver accompanying the patient of the importance of a well-child visit with a pediatrician or other licensed primary care provider and refer patients when appropriate.

The supervising qualified pharmacist must comply with any applicable requirements (or conditions of use) as set forth in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 vaccination provider agreement and any other federal requirements that apply to the administration of COVID-19 vaccine(s).

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