President Joe Biden’s decision to begin distributing vaccine doses directly to pharmacies was an important step to help Americans be vaccinated faster. Becoming vaccinated is key to putting an end to the pandemic, so we must do what is necessary to get vaccines into the arms of our population as soon as possible.

We should rely on the infrastructure already in place through the health care supply chain to ensure efficiency and safety.

The relationship between health care distributors and pharmacies that President Biden is capitalizing on is extremely valuable. Health care distributors and pharmacies work together daily, and they have strong relationships. The pandemic has made these relationships more important, as the system was spread thin across the country to deal with the impact of COVID-19. Now, these logistics experts of the health care industry are helping to deliver vaccines from the federal government to pharmacies across Minnesota’s cities and rural towns.

Ninety percent of all Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy. Thus, pharmacists are in prime position to play a vital role in the fight against COVID-19.

For years, pharmacists have relied on distributors to bring necessary and adequate supplies of medicines from thousands of manufacturers to our communities. Having distributors work directly with pharmacists for the vaccine rollout is exactly what we need to speed up the entire process. Leveraging this relationship will help us defeat the pandemic.

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Jessica Swearingen

Long Lake, Minnesota

The writer is president of the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which is based in Minnetonka and represents health-system pharmacists across Minnesota.

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