Weekly Now: Pharmacies Have a Plan for Speeding Up Vaccine Distribution

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores pledges that its members can serve up 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. population in just a month—if they get the supply. Also: A quiz to test your news literacy.

With discussions about the next steps for vaccinating the public picking up just before a new presidential administration kicks in—one that is promising a different approach to distributing COVID-19 vaccines—a major trade group  is raising its hand to offer help.

“Based on conservative assumptions, pharmacies have the capacity to meet the demand for 100 million vaccine doses in one month when that level of the vaccine supply is available,” Steven Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, told reporters last week.

The U.S. has only vaccinated 10 million people despite distributing 29 million doses, with supply chain issues posing a major challenge. NACDS says that, with 90 percent of the population within 5 miles of a retail drug store, the association could leverage the existing Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program to administer the full supply in just a month.

“This solution could easily be ramped up even further as stores deploy more vaccinators—pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy interns, nurses, clinic physicians, EMTs and others,” the association added.

Other recent headlines:

A new online marketing option for specialty food pros. The tradeshow floor may be off-limits for producers in the specialty food industry, but the Specialty Food Association is still finding ways to help them sell their goods. Last week, SFA announced the launch of Infinite Aisle, a new digital marketplace for retailers to buy specialty food from the group’s members. “Makers receive the orders, print prepaid labels supplied to them, and ship the product directly to stores,” the association states on its website. “Distributors facilitate and guarantee the orders without having to take possession of or warehouse the products.” SFA says that this approach helps limit the amount of additional product that specialty distributors would have to warehouse, allowing retailers to have access to a variety of foods.

Travel industry speaks up about new CDC rules. Travel-related associations had a mixed response to new requirements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all U.S.-bound international airline passengers have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight, TravelPulse reports. The U.S. Travel Association called it “yet another layer of safety for international travel” that should be met with a lifting of restrictions elsewhere. The American Society of Travel Advisors, meanwhile, warned that the requirement would suffer from the lag time between testing and results, fomenting logistical nightmares. “At the least, the CDC should communicate its list of exempted destinations so that travel advisors and consumers can make informed decisions regarding their travel plans,” ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement.

Know Your News Literacy

With the craziness of the news in recent weeks, it might do you good to test your news diet.

Next week, the News Literacy Project, teaming with the media giant E.W. Scripps, is launching its second annual National News Literacy Week, complete with a quiz to help you get an understanding of your news literacy fitness.

In a news release, News Literacy Project founder and CEO Alan C. Miller cited the recent violent attacks at the U.S. Capitol as reason to emphasize news literacy this year.

“As the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol demonstrated, this contagion of viral rumors and conspiracy theories can have deadly consequences,” he said. “It’s time to confront this rising tide that threatens our democracy. Together, we must take personal responsibility for the news and other information we consume and spread to assure a future founded on facts.”


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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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