HARRISBURG – As part of the Wolf Administration’s effort to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Tom Wolf has approved a temporary waiver, allowing pharmacists licensed by the Department of State to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order when vaccines are available to the public.
State officials say adding pharmacists to the health care professionals administering COVID-19 vaccines expands options for Pennsylvanians to be immunized once the vaccine is widely available from the federal government.
“Pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns and technicians, are critical partners in the commonwealth’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Many Pennsylvanians will go to their local pharmacy for vaccination. “This waiver will enable pharmacies to offer the COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order.”
Pennsylvania pharmacists who meet certain training and other requirements can obtain authorization to administer injectable medications, biologicals and immunizations.
If a pharmacist has that authorization, he or she can administer any immunization, including COVID-19 immunizations, to persons 18 years of age or older. Historically, some pharmacies have entered into arrangements with physicians in order to receive reimbursement for flu shots and other vaccinations.
Many pharmacies, however, do not have an arrangement with a physician, and even those that do have not had time to incorporate the COVID-19 vaccination into that relationship. This waiver would allow pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccine without such a provider agreement
“We are working on ways to increase access to the vaccine, and pharmacists already play an important role in making sure Pennsylvanians are protected,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians continue to play an essential role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by masking up, washing up and socially distancing.”
This waiver applies solely to COVID-19 vaccines for the duration of the Governor’s Disaster Emergency Declaration plus 90 days.
For more information about the Department of State’s COVID-19 response, visit the Department of State Web site.