It’s time to Vaccinate are you ready? Do you have a plan to Capitilize on adding customers?

Jonathan Jacobs
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By now you’ve realized that vaccinations are coming quickly and if your store is the lone wolf without the ability to administer the ‘shots’ you will surely miss out on the next great opportunity to secure new customers and impress local doctors and practitioners (writers).  If you were a store owner who began doing research and your own homework last spring then you have definitely had information either directly or indirectly regarding what it would take to test for Covid-19 and then when available …Vaccinate!!

The information below is meant as a reminder to help you begin this process. The following information was obtained from the NYS Department of Health November 19, 2020 webinar regarding steps for physicians to serve as a distributor of COVID 19 vaccine to patients.

Step One — Register for the Immunization Information System

Step 2: Enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Step 3 Ordering, Receiving and Administering Vaccine

In order to participate in step one the following must be done.

  • Physicians who do not have an account are urged to register in the NYS Immunization Information System (NYSIIS).  Physicians residing in New York City will need to register with the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR).
  • This is because all COVID-19 Vaccination Program providers (each location submitting a profile) will need a NYSIIS or a CIR account.
  • When COVID-19 vaccine is available, providers in NYS, outside of NYC, will order Covid-19 Vaccine through NYSII and providers in NYC will order Covid-19 vaccine through the CIR.  Orders will be approved by NYS DOH and shipped directly from the vaccine manufacturer or CDC distributor.

In order or obtain vaccinations in NYS the pharmacy owner must have a NYSII account to request lots of the vaccine from NYS dept of Health which is now the by proxxy ultimate distributor for NYS.  In order to give the Covid-19 vaccination one must also have passed the test for the licensed pharmacist to give vaccinations in the first place.  Under this current crisis the ‘Clia- waiver’ is not needed at this time.  However you must be also granted a “standing order” from a local physician or county dept of health to give the vaccine.  Believe it or not, all that is needed for that is a prescription from a local doctor for said patient(s) to “get” the vaccine and when presented to the local dept of health (suffolk county for instance or the city of NY) you will be granted the ‘standing order’.   The pharmacy is not billed anything for the vaccine or doses and they can bill the third parties for both the first and second dose of either available vaccine.    For the administration of the vaccines, the payment allowances are currently $16.94 for the first dose of a vaccine (CPT codes 0001A and 0011A) and $28.39 for the second dose (CPT codes 0002A and 0012A). CMS notes that these rates will also be geographically adjusted in 2020 and 2021. Pharmacists are not allowed to bill above .01 cent for ingrediant cost or the actual vaccine but the fee for administering of the vaccine is what you are allowed to bill for.

Having customers get vaccinated in your store is the single greatest opportunity for you to turn members of the general-public into new customers for your pharmacy.  Consider how many times you get the chance to have members of the community line up to enter your store and give you their undivided attention for at least 15 minutes?  Giving the vaccination should be an all hands-on deck affair with handouts for your stores services. Make sure your store is clean as a whistle and the shelves are well stocked and neat.  Do your own metaphorical “sniff test”! This is important as you only get one chance at a first impression.  Staff should be explained to the importance of translating the enormous responsibility and opportunity of giving the Covid-19 vaccine into gaining neighborhood appreciation and additional customers.  Wellness kits with a few incidental goodies are also a nice way of convincing those that have never been to your store to stay on as a customer. We all remember the lollipops at the bank…same principle.

Have a follow up local seminar or something community related for people to have an excuse to come back to your store either in person or virtually through a Zoom seminar.  Educational seminars on CBD and/or a lifestyle talk on healthy eating are good ideas to start with.  Marcus Wilson from Integrity pharmacy says “I’ll be having both of my marketing professionals present when we begin vaccinating.  This is an excellent opportunity to let people know about all the various products and services we provide to the community.  Many customers coming through for the vaccine have never been to one of our stores so this is a perfect time to educate them and gain some customers who may never have the experience of shopping with us!”

This process of vaccinating the general public for the Covid-19 virus will take years if not in purpetuity depending on vaccine efficacy and how long the protection (immunity) may last.  The Independent and Community pharmacies that get involved now will most certainly be a “leg-up” on those competing stores not providing this critical service!

Point of Care would like everyone to take this growing Health Crisis seriously and follow the CDC’s guidlines for social distancing and wearing a mask whenever out in public or gatherings of people.

To read more related articles please click any of the below listed links:

How to Become an Immunization Pharmacist

Opportunities to expand serivces, COVID19 testing

A Compelling Case for Automating Pharmacy Workflow

Point of Sale Success – Part 3: Ordering Inventory

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