Biden's Path out of the Pandemic

What pharmacists need to know.

COVID vaccine mandate (or weekly testing) for businesses with 100+ employees

  • Very likely that this will apply to pharmacies, OSHA is working on another emergency temporary standard (ETS) that will implement this mandate but they have not provided a timeline as to when that will be released.

  • Testing—no details on whether employers will need to cover the cost of tests.

COVID vaccine mandate for all health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating health care settings

  • Press releases say that this will apply to all CMS-regulated settings and include all staff, including those without direct patient/client care, meaning that it is likely that pharmacy staff contracted with LTC facilities will be required to be vaccinated. Still not sure about delivery drivers.

  • CMS has indicated that they will release an interim final rule with comment period sometime in October to implement this.

Booster shots—all information from the administration still says they'll be available, subject to FDA approval and ACIP recommendation, "as early as the week of September 20"

Expanding free testing program to 10,000 pharmacies—no details as to whether these are chains or a mix of chains and independents

Things that we do know:

  • Pharmacists, techs, and interns are now authorized to administer (and in the case of RPh, order) monoclonal antibody therapies. The 9th amendment to the PREP Act has not been published yet, but here's a fact sheet. This is inclusive of oral, subcutaneous, and intramuscular administration (there are some training/supervision requirements for the latter two administration routes for techs and interns)

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is being revamped to increase the maximum amount small businesses can borrow from $500k to $2M, repayment of which begins 2 years after funding is received. Once the program relaunches it will be restricted for 30 days to small businesses seeking loans of $500k or less to prioritize their access to funds.

  • Small businesses with PPP loans of $150K or less will have their loans wiped clean

Some possible opportunities for our members:

  • Biden's plan calls on states to adopt vaccine requirements for all school employees, opportunity for members to provide those (and other services)

  • Also calls on schools to set up regular testing for students, teachers, and staff—similar opportunity