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January 22, 2021

How Technology Can Support Health System Pharmacy with COVID-19 Vaccine Management

Howard Montgomery, MS, RPh
Director, Clinical Consulting, Omnicell

The biggest vaccination campaign in history is now underway and scaling fast.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 18.4 million shots have been administered in the U.S. since January 21, with an average of 939,973 doses per day. 

The vaccine rollout brings unique logistical challenges, especially for health system pharmacy as they need to manage inventory across multiple, diverse locations. One of the biggest challenges is visibility to, and reporting of, vaccine data as hospitals need to comply with non-standardized processes that are still evolving and vary state to state. 

Compounding these challenges is that each vaccine brand requires different storage requirements with regard to temperature and beyond-use date (BUD) for each temperature type (frozen, refrigerated, and room temperature)For example, the Pfizer vaccine requires storage areas at -70 degrees Celsius. 

The good news is that there may already be solutions embedded in your health system. Medication management automation, supported by perpetual inventory management and tracking, can provide the visibility needed to track vaccine storage and document administration data across multiple locations. This can help pharmacy track when vaccines are received, where they are stored, and when they are moved to different locations, while capturing and reporting important transactions, including vaccine-specific instructions or recording lot numbers in and out of the point-of-use automated dispensing cabinets.  

When integrated with the health system’s EHR, this system can support additional administration tasks such as documenting secondary visits and consent, while providing ongoing visibility into the location and successful management and administration of the vaccine. 

The key to operational and cost efficiencies in the pharmacy supply chain starts with visibility. Omnicell’s integrated approach to automation and intelligence sets the foundation to provide the visibility and data to gain a better understanding of your medication supply chain, helping you to predict, prioritize, and take action to support clinical care needs. This foundation can now extend to help support COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

The vaccine is finally here, and Omnicell is committed to helping you effectively manage and support a smooth rollout to your patients. Our Clinical Consulting Team is available to help navigate how to leverage technology to support a COVID-19 inventory management plan. You can also access additional resources for COVID-19 vaccine management, including a self-assessment test to evaluate your preparedness, on the ASHP resource page.  


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.

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