Execs Detail Payers’ Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

As the pharmaceutical industry hurtles toward completing a COVID-19 vaccine, payers and PBMs have begun to draft vaccine distribution plans based on emerging guidance from federal public health leaders. Insurance industry leaders say that they anticipate the government and its chosen distributor, McKesson Corp., will handle most of the early work in distributing vaccines, but that payers should anticipate taking a role in educating members and directing inoculations to appropriate populations in later stages.

Official federal vaccine guidance will originate with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine policy body. ACIP generates ongoing public health and distribution guidelines for vaccinations, including the annual rules for influenza vaccines. According to a Sept. 22 report in the Wall Street Journal, ACIP has opted to defer issuing formal guidance for initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution until clinical trials have advanced further. On a related point, ACIP generally waits to issue guidance until vaccines have been approved by the FDA. ACIP’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28-30, and the panel may release guidance at that point.

© 2024 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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