Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act extending certain authorities for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students until December 2024. The agency had previously announced the planned flexibilities but had not taken formal action until last week. As requested by ASHP and other pharmacy organizations, the new PREP Act declaration extends the following authorities until December 2024:
- Authority for pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests and treatments. These authorities apply to any products purchased by the United States government. The agency further indicated that it might extend coverage even after products are fully commercialized (i.e., no longer purchased by the federal government).
- Authority for pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 and influenza vaccines for adults and children ages three and up, and for pharmacy technicians to administer these vaccines under the supervision of a pharmacist.
In the fact sheet published ahead of the formal declaration, HHS noted that authority for pharmacists to provide routine childhood vaccines would end with the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, 2023.
Two other authorities will also end after vaccine commercialization, including the authority for retired clinicians and those with recently expired licenses to prescribe, dispense, and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines, and the authority for out-of-state clinicians to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in states where they are not licensed.
ASHP will update members about key timelines for implementation as vaccine commercialization continues. Questions or concerns about the PREP Act decisions should be sent to Jillanne Schulte Wall, ASHP senior director for health and regulatory policy.