Suffolk County Highlights COVID-19 Vaccine Pharmacy-to-Practice Program


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February 18, 2022  

Suffolk County Highlights COVID-19 Vaccine Pharmacy-to-Practice Program

Health department’s central pharmacy offers COVID-19 vaccines to medical providers, trusted partners in public health.

As Suffolk County approaches a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott encourage medical providers, nursing home administrators, and small practice pharmacies to reach out to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Central Pharmacy to order supplies of COVID-19 vaccine doses in quantities that are appropriate for their practice.

“We know that there are many Suffolk County residents who will take their COVID-19 vaccines only from their trusted medical provider and we want to make it easier for them to do just this,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “Medical providers are the ones we trust when it comes to our personal health and they are an indispensable partner in public health. We urge our trusted medical providers to reach out to us to procure quantities of COVID vaccine that they need for their practices.”

Through the Pharmacy-to-Practice program, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services procures the COVID-19 vaccine in bulk through the New York State Department of Health and stores the vaccine in its large capacity ultra-low freezer. Once the vaccines are removed from the freezer, they must be stored in a refrigerator and used within weeks. With the Pharmacy-to-Practice program, medical providers, nursing homes and pharmacies may order and pick up the number of doses they are able to dispense within a few weeks’ time and may return for more when they need it.

While Pharmacy to Practice is not a new concept, as the Suffolk County Central Pharmacy is charged with maintaining and dispensing supplies of medications in the event of a public health emergency, the department has recently promoted this service as the demand for the COVID vaccine at its large COVID-19 vaccination clinics has fallen.

“We are in a good place to do this at this time,” said Dr. Pigott. “The demand for COVID vaccine at large venues has waxed and waned over time, as the CDC issued new recommendations for vaccines for younger age groups and booster doses. Now, as many of Suffolk County unvaccinated residents are children, and many parents feel more comfortable with their pediatricians dispensing vaccines to their children, it is the right time to promote the Pharmacy-to-Practice program, in addition to the COVID-19 clinics that we continue to hold throughout the county. We believe trusted medical providers will help build confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.”

To date, the pharmacy has provided 20,000 doses of vaccines to 40 healthcare providers across the county. Local pediatrics specialist Dr. Inder Nagpal is one of the medical providers who has been dispensing COVID vaccines to both adults and children.

“Many of our patients would rather have the discussion and get the vaccine in our offices than at a pharmacy or vaccine clinic,” said Dr. Nagpal. “I pick up about 120 doses of the Pfizer vaccine at a time. That will last me for two or three weeks, then I come back and pick up some more when I need it. Suffolk County’s Pharmacy Director Hanaa Ibrahim and her staff make it easy. I hope to continue to work with her into the future for the sake of my patients.”

More remarks about the Pharmacy-to-Practice program from Dr. Pigott and Dr. Nagpal can be found here.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services has developed a dedicated website for medical providers to begin requesting  COVID-19 vaccines. The site includes guidance on how to store and administer COVID-19 vaccines, as well as a COVID-19 Vaccine Order Form, which provides a convenient way to order vaccines online in quantities that are appropriate for any practice.

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