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November 05, 2020

HHS Authorizes Pharmacy Technicians and Interns to Administer Vaccines and COVID-19 Tests

Recent guidance from HHS authorizes pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns to administer COVID-19 tests, COVID-19 vaccines, and ACIP-recommended childhood vaccines under the PREP Act. Under this guidance, technicians and interns may administer vaccines to persons ages three or older, but requires that a supervising qualified pharmacist order the vaccine and be readily and immediately available while a technician administers the vaccine.

To qualify, technicians and interns must be licensed or registered by their state board of pharmacy.Technicians in states that do not license or register technicians must be certified by one of two national technician accreditation boards. Technicians and interns also must complete an accredited training program and at least two hours of continuing education training. Supervising pharmacists are responsible for complying with state recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

The guidance states that its provisions preempt any state laws that prohibit pharmacy technicians or interns from administering COVID-19 vaccines, childhood vaccines, or COVID-19 tests, but it does not preempt any state laws that are more permissive. This authorization expands upon previous guidance authorizing pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines and tests and childhood vaccines, regardless of existing state laws restricting such activities.