Nevada partners with pharmacies to increase provider access to COVID-19 vaccines

Nevada’s State Immunization Program has announced a new initiative to boost Covid-19 vaccinations across the state by pairing pharmacies with local doctors to get more shots in the arm.

To read the full article and video, please click here:

The pharmacy depot program will allow pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Smiths to distribute vaccines in small amounts to enrolled providers.

Right now, less than half of Nevadans are fully vaccinated, that’s according to the CDC.

“Increasing points of access is the overall goal in boosting those rates,” said Kristy Zigenis, Covid-19 program manager with the Nevada State Immunization Program.

So, the Nevada State Immunization Program is partnering with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy to pilot the Pharmacy Depot Program. To get Covid-19 vaccines into the hands people trust most.

“We have discovered that some providers didn’t think they could vaccinate their patients due to the minimum required order sizes,” Zigenis said.

Through federal guidelines, providers can order a required minimum of the Covid-19 vaccine. Zigenis said that’s somewhere between 100 to more than 1,000 doses.

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But through the new program, doctors will be able to request *small* amounts of vaccine from more than 140 pharmacies across the valley, without wasting unnecessary stock.

“For a provider that has a smaller practice, it was just too much to manage. And so, they just wouldn’t sign up to provide the vaccine,” Zigenis said.

Dr. Ati Hakimi MD with Vegas Direct Primary Care is one of those small practices with 150 patients.

“I would love to be able to give vaccines,” Dr. Hakimi said.

Dr. Hakimi said getting the vaccine is vital in keeping the virus from mutating. And doctors can provide an environment patients are comfortable in.

“Because we do have a relationship with our patients right so we want to be there for them and take that opportunity when they do have the questions to ask and answer them but if they want that vaccine right then and there, we can give it to them,” Dr. Hakimi said.

Zigenis said if providers have a refrigerator that can maintain the appropriate temperatures to store the vaccine, there shouldn’t be any barriers.

But according to Dr. Hakimi, storing and refrigerating vaccines such as Pfizer takes time and money.

“We have been trying to work with entities such as Immunize Nevada and the health department to enable us to do that but with this new program I think it will be invaluable for us smaller practices to actually get that going,” Dr. Hakimi said.

For more information and to enroll in the Pharmacy Depot Program, click here.

Picture of Dr. Hakimi

Dr. Hakimi

Dr. Ati Hakimi MD graduated from Northwestern University residency in Family Medicine and did an extra year of training in Geriatric Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. She has practiced medicine for over 20 years.

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