This guidance is based on the available evidence and the recommendations of reputable organisations such as the World Health Organization, the United States and the European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and others, at the time of publishing. Knowledge on COVID-19 is rapidly changing and recommendations may change accordingly. Although FIP will strive to keep these guidelines up to date, we recommend consulting the websites of these organisations and any newly available evidence for the most recent updates. Our guidance is divided into four sections. Guidance specifically for community, hospital and clinical biology sectors can be found in Section 2 “Guidelines for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce”. The guidance is supplemented with summaries and it is accessible here.
FIP call to action to support pharmacists and pharmacy workers on the coronavirus/COVID-19 frontline
- Pharmacy based pandemic vaccination programme: Regulatory self-assessment tool (FEBRUARY 2021)
- COVID-19 vaccines: Frequently asked questions (JANUARY, 2021)
- FIP Holding Statement on in-pharmacy COVID-19 testing (JANUARY, 2021)
- FIP Holding statement on interferon beta and vaccination for COVID-19 (JULY, 2020)
- FIP Holding Statement on masks (JULY 2020)
- FIP Holding Statement on COVID-19 treatment with hydroxychloroquine/ chloroquine (JUNE 2020)
- FIP Statement of Principles: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health equity, and vulnerable patients and populations (MAY, 2020)
- FIP AIM Special Focus: Experiential Learning During Pandemic – Best Practices from FIP AIM Members (MAY, 2020)
- FIP Holding Statement on COVID-19 testing and treatment with hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine (APRIL, 2020)
- World Health Professions Alliance: Call for immediate G20 action to secure personal protective equipment for health personnel (APRIL, 2020)
- Academic Pharmacy Section: How academics manage the disruption in education in order to “Stay home, stay safe, and stay educated” (APRIL, 2020)
- FIP Position Statement on the association between the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (including ibuprofen), ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and corticosteroids, and an increased risk of coronavirus/COVID-19 infection or disease severity. (MARCH, 2020)
- FIP Young Pharmacists Group: COVID-19: What You Need to Know (FEBRUARY, 2020)
- "Pharmacy Practice in Response to Natural Disasters: Legislation, Challenges and Lessons Learned" (Download the PowerPoint slides here.)
Argentina: According to a report on 6 January 39,599 doses of Sputnik V have been administered to health care professionals.1,088 adverse events were registered, of which 97.7% were mild.
Australia: Pharmacies will begin to vaccinate in mid-2021, when the vaccination will be extended to groups of the general population (more here). The requirements for training and certifying pharmacists as vaccinators have been modified to allow the theoretical part of this training to be done online; also, the requirement for pharmacists to have a prior first-aid certificate is temporarily waived (more here). Starting around May, community pharmacies will be paid up to AUD 48 (EUR 30) to vaccinate patients. However, they need to ensure that they are able to continue to provide their regular important services to their local communities, health minister Greg Hunt has said, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph in January. Australia began its mass COVID-19 vaccination programme in February and pharmacists were among the frontline healthcare staff receiving the first doses. Plans are for the population to be vaccinated by the end of October, with the majority to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally. In preparation for Australia’s vaccine rollout, the Australian Government has partnered with the Australian College of Nursing to develop accredited training modules, which are freely accessible to all authorised COVID-19 vaccination providers, including pharmacists. Australia’s policy for vaccinating the population against COVID-19 was updated last month. This states that pharmacists are licensed to varying degrees in each state and territory to administer vaccines and are likely to play a role in COVID-19 vaccination for “some part of the population (e.g. healthy adults) at some stage, depending on the safety profile of the vaccines”. Pharmacists in primary care clinics and general practice began to administer vaccines in March. However, community pharmacies are still waiting to hear about the outcome of their expression of interest to deliver the vaccinations, according to a report in Australian Pharmacist.
Brazil: In January, the country announced that it would manufacture the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, but that the entire production would be exported to other Latin American countries that had already approved the vaccine, including Argentina and Bolivia. Also in January, Reuters reported on a Brazilian study indicating that China’s Sinovac vaccine is 78% effective but experts have called for more transparency on the data. In March, pharmacy chain RaiaDrogasil began delivering free vaccinations in partnership with the municipality of Sao Paulo, as part of the national immunisation programme.
Canada: The Canadian Pharmacists Association and Neighbourhood Pharmacies have issued recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines and pharmacy readiness. Roll out plans are being developed by provincial and territorial governments according to Canada’s 7-point COVID-19 Immunization Plan and NACI’s Recommendations for Use of Coronavirus Vaccines. Priority populations include seniors, healthcare workers, long-term care residents and indigenous communities. The overall goal is to receive enough COVID-19 vaccines to start vaccinating all Canadians by March and have 100% of the population vaccinated by December. However, it is still unclear what the responsibilities and activities of the pharmacy workforce will be, or what (if any) additional training may be required. More here.
Europe: A manifesto to encourage healthcare professionals to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was published on 9 February by the European Coalition for Vaccination.
France: The minister of health has said that the government will engage all health professionals — including pharmacists — in mass vaccination when more vaccines are available, but there is not yet a published document on how this will be implemented, according to a report from the French Chamber of Pharmacists in January. On 2 February, the French National Health Authority issued an opinion in favour of COVID-19 vaccination by community pharmacists and midwives of people aged between 50 and 64 years with the AstraZeneca vaccine (more here). In March, pharmacists started to vaccinate people over the age of 55 years with risk factors. Following an enabling decree by the government, by the summer community pharmacists should also be able to prescribe and administer COVID-19 vaccines to all adults except pregnant women, people with haemostasis disorder and people with a history of an anaphylactic reaction to one of the vaccines or who have had an anaphylactic reaction to the first injection.
Ireland: The Irish Government’s National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy and Implementation Plan explicitly include community pharmacies alongside GPs as vaccine access locations. Below are three recent Statutory Instruments (i.e. Ministerial Regulations) that are relevant:
• S.I. No. 698 of 2020 allows COVID-19 vaccination by a range of persons including community pharmacists wherever deemed suitable and also covers records required;
• S.I. No. 1 of 2021 allows hospitals who do not hold wholesaler licences to supply COVID-19 vaccines to persons authorised to administer them, which would include community pharmacies;
• S.I. No. 2 of 2021 permits six doses of Comirnaty® (Pfizer) to be administered from each vial (instead of five)
• Clinical Guidance for Covid‐19 Vaccination (6 January 2021)
Israel: A drop of 60% in hospital admissions after three weeks is the impact of a quick and efficient vaccination campaign (more here). Only 0.04% of people have caught the virus a week after the second vaccine dose and only 0.002% needed hospital treatment, according to data released by Israel’s health ministry (more here).
Italy: The region of Lombardy is the latest region to agree with health authorities that pharmacists should be able to carry out COVID-19 vaccinations, joining the Piedmont region in January. The Lazio region is expected to follow. It is envisaged that pharmacy-based vaccinations will cover people between 40 and 60 years of age and will begin at the end of March, when more vaccines which can be stored in pharmacy refrigerators are available, Federfarma reports. Meanwhile, Federfarma also reports that the first phase of vaccination aimed at health and social health personnel in the Emilia Romagna region was completed in February and around 370,000 people aged over 80 years are now receiving a letter, giving them the option to use an affiliated pharmacy (in addition to telephone and internet) to make a booking for their first and second doses. However, the region’s pharmacies are not yet providing a vaccines administration service. In March, the Italian government issued a decree authorising pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies as part of the national vaccination campaign.
Norway: The Ministry of Health has proposed legislative amendments to allow pharmacists to request COVID-19 vaccines, the Norwegian Pharmacy Association (NPA) reported in February. With this change, municipalities will have access to 2,000 more health personnel who may play a crucial role in increasing the pace when vaccines supplies increase. It is very positive that the Minister of Health is coming up with this initiative now, while there is still time to prepare for mass vaccination in the municipalities, said Per T. Lund, CEO of the NPA. In March, the NPA reported that the Ministry of Health and Care Services had adopted a temporary change in the regulations giving pharmacists in pharmacies the right to order COVID-19 vaccines to be administered in pharmacies. However, this right of requisition does not mean that the people can now go directly to a pharmacy to get vaccinated. Pharmacies must first have an agreement with the municipality, which is tasked with delivering vaccines.
Philippines: Pharmacists are included in the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines. Following a two-day training period, community pharmacists in the Philippines started administering COVID vaccines in February, the Philippine Pharmacists Association has reported.
Portugal: Engagement of pharmacies is among solutions being looked into to increase vaccination capacity, according to the government’s newly appointed task force coordinator Vice-Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo. The rate of vaccination is currently around 22,000 vaccines per day but if manufacturers meet the vaccine delivery schedule for quarter 2, the pace is expected to increase to around 80,000 vaccines per day. In response, Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society president, Ana Paula Martins, has reiterated the availability for community pharmacists to collaborate, under terms agreed with the Ministry of Health. “We will come to a time when we will have to vaccinate almost 200,000 people per day. In this context, I am very convinced that pharmacies will surely be able to reach up to 50,000 vaccines per day", she told the media in February. (More here). In March, health authorities began contacting, scheduling and vaccinating almost 8,000 pharmacists who are on a list of those directly providing care compiled by the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society. Also in March, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo talked about the possible entry of pharmacies in the second phase of the country’s vaccination plan, which will start in April. Meanwhile, the ANF (Associação Nacional das Farmácias) confirmed that pharmacists will play a role in mass vaccination centres in the municipality of Sintra.
South Africa: The Department of Health launched a campaign —“I choose vaccination because...” #VacciNation — in February to encourage all South Africans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Pharmacists are among the health professionals around the country taking part in the campaign’s video messages.
UK: The Adam Smith Institute published a position paper (4 January) calling for the acceleration of vaccination against COVID-19, and one of the main measures proposed is vaccination in pharmacies. Some community pharmacies will start administering vaccinations on 11 January (More here). The Tony Blair Institute published "A blueprint for accelerated vaccine rollout" on 6 January. In February, NHS England announced that it would reopen the application process to pharmacies to apply to become designated vaccination sites in a list of “priority locations”, opening up the service to contractors who could provide up to 400 vaccinations per week when most contractors must be able to provide at least 1,000 vaccinations per week. As of February there were 192 pharmacy-led local vaccination sites in England. There are around 11,700 community pharmacies in England.
USA: Vaccination in pharmacies, limited to priority groups, has started (more here). Vaccinations in geriatric care centres are largely carried out by pharmacists (more here). Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has advocated for the involvement of pharmacies and pharmacy-based vaccination in the context of COVID-19 (watch here) and using a network of local pharmacists has been held up as a shining example of a successful vaccination strategy in West Virginia in an NBC News report.
Resources from FIP members and others*
*Please note that this sharing of guidance and examples from our member organisations and others is not an endorsement of these materials and we can take no responsibility for their accuracy or their being up-to-date.
LiveWell Initiative: Guidance to support pharmacists in the African region in the management of COVID-19.
Pharmaceutical Confederation of Argentina: "Protocolo COFA de actuación en la farmacia comunitaria ante la pandemia de coronavirus"
Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations:
- Preparing community pharmacies for the COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 Infection Control and Prevention Strategies for Health-System Pharmacists and Pharmacy Departments
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia:
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information for pharmacists
- How the COVID-19 Home Medicines Service works
Pharmacy Guild of Australia: Information and guidance for community pharmacies in Australia
University of Melbourne: The lessons from past pandemics
Austrian Pharmacists Chamber: "Measures taken in the wake of the corona crisis concerning community pharmacies in Austria"
Association Pharmaceutique Belge (APB): COVID-19 information website
Brazilian Federal Council of Pharmacy:
- "Guidance on COVID-19 testing"
- "Guidance for COVID-19 risk assessment"
- "Guidance on cloth and masks"
- "Guidance on the use of PPI"
- "Plano de resposta para a farmácias privadas e públicas da Atenção Primária"
- "Padronização de acessórios para medida de temperatura"
- "Definição de caso suspeito, caso provável, caso confirmado, caso descartado, caso excluído, caso descartado, caso curado, contato próximo e contato domiciliar"
- "Equipamentos de Proteção Individual"
- "Delineamento de cuidado farmacêutico para farmácias comunitárias"
- COVID-19: Guidance for clinical chemistry laboratories
Canadian Pharmacists Association:
- Suggested Best Practices for Pharmacies During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Daily COVID-19 information for pharmacists
Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Government of Hong Kong SAR: Severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent (information and resource centre) (Simplified Chinese)
Chinese Pharmaceutical Association:
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak prevention and control: Guidance and management strategies for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce Chinese English
- Expert consensus to guide the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic for retail pharmacy staff Chinese English
- Hospital pharmacy professional committee expert consensus on rational drug use in clinical practice for COVID-19 Chinese English
Zhejiang Hospital Pharmacy Administration & Quality Control Centre: Suggestions about diagnosis and treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia in pharmacy work
Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University Protection strategies of pharmaceutical posts, pharmacists and logistics personnel in the context of novel coronavirus infection
Taiwan Society of Health-System Pharmacists: Community Pharmacists in Taiwan at the Frontline Against the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic: Gatekeepers for the Rationing of Personal Protective Equipment"
Commonwealth of nations
Commonwealth Pharmacists Association: How to Manufacture Alcohol Hand Rub: Training video launched to support COVID-19 response
College of Pharmacists of Costa Rica:
- "Recomendaciones para ir a la farmacia"
- "Recomendaciones para la prestacion de servicios farmaceuticos"
- "Guía actuación profesional farmacia frente pandemia COVID-19"
- "Recursos ColFar Pandemia COVID-19"
- El papel del farmacéutico ante el COVID-19
- El papel del farmacéutico: Generalidades del SARS CoV 2
European Association of Hospital Pharmacists: COVID-19 Resource Centre
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Novel coronavirus
Pharmaceutical Group of European Union: COVID-19 Information Hub
French Chamber of Pharmacists:
Ministère des Solidaritès et de la Santé: COVID-19 hub
The International Conference of French-speaking Chambers of Pharmacists (CIOPF):
Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists:
- "#unverzichtbar: Gemeinsam gegen Corona"
- "Informationen zum Coronavirus"
- "Empfehlungen der Bundesapothekerkammer zu Arbeitsschutzmaßnahmen bei Tätigkeiten mit Biostoffen"
Ministry of Health Greece: Instructions for protection against respiratory infection from the new coronavirus
- "Protocollo informatico"
- "Coronavirus: indicazioni utili"
- "Croce Rossa e Federfarma insieme per intensificare consegna farmaci a domicilio a favore delle persone vulnerabili"
- "Cossolo al Tg5: 'Barriere in plexiglass e servizio a battenti chiusi per garantire la sicurezza dei colleghi'"
The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan: COVID-19 News
Ministry of public health: Guide to avoid coronavirus infection
Nepal Pharmaceutical Association: COVID-19 Guideline for pharmacists and pharmacy assistant
The Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association
- The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has published a report about care during the COVID-19 pandemic (pp54-8 talk about pharmaceutical care). An abstract in English is available here.
- COVID-19 hub in The Netherlands
- Pharmacists can publish their best practices and efforts about pharmaceutical care in the period of COVID-19 here.
- Thank you message to pharmacists.
Philippine Pharmacists Association: Community Pharmacy Guide COVID-19 Preparedness
Actions against COVID (Portuguese Pharmaceutical SocietyPortuguese Pharmaceutical Society and National Association of Pharmacies of Portugal)
Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society:
National Association of Pharmacies of Portugal:
Pharmacy's response to COVID-19: A virtual exhibition. How to participate? Watch this interview to Joao Neto, curator, Pharmacy Museum of the National Association of Pharmacies of Portugal.
APFH - Associação Portuguesa de Farmacêuticos Hospitalares
Pharmaceutical Chamber of Serbia
University of Ljubljana
General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain:
- Spanish pharmacy facing COVID-19
- COVID19 information hub
- "Informe tecnico Coronavirus"
- "Protocolo Coronavirus Farmacia Comunitaria"
Turkish Pharmacists Association
Ministry of health and prevention: Guide for coronavirus
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (APS): Coronavirus info
British Medical Journal – Best Practice: Overview of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support
PhRMA (biopharmaceutical research companies): Member Company Efforts to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak
Royal Pharmaceutical Society:
The Lancet: SARS-CoV-2 Resource Centre (open access)
The Pharmaceutical Journal: Everything you should know about the coronavirus outbreak
UK Government: How tests and testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) work
International Pharmacy Panel (Oct 2020): Pharmacy Ethics Related to the Covid-19 Pandemic Based on Core Ethical Principles
- COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response
- Last update (22 JULY)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
- Rolling updates on coronavirus
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports
- Research and development
- Clinical trials platform
- Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) open for in vitro diagnostics
- R&D Blueprint was activated to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus
- Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19
- EPI-WIN: Vulnerable populations"
- "Strengthening the Health Systems Response to COVID-19. Technical guidance #4. Community Pharmacy
- EPI-WIN: Re-opening schools
- COVID-19 Information tools on new apps: The WHO Academy app is designed to support health workers during COVID-19, and the WHO Info app designed to inform the general public. The application is available for free download from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Arabic Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
- Question & Answer - COVID-19 and WHO PQT Inspections
- WHO Guidance for SARS-COV2 COVID-19 treatment - medicines
- Certification scheme on the quality of pharmaceutical products moving in international commerce: special measures during pandemic Update: Use of e-signature for Certificates using the WHO Certification Schemes
Association of Chemistry and Pharmacy:
American Pharmacists Association: "COVID-19 Practice Resources"
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2019 novel coronavirus
Johns Hopkins University –Center for Systems Science and Engineering: SARS-CoV-2 Global Cases update
National Academy of Medicine: Coronavirus resources
National Institutes of Health: COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines
United States Pharmacopeia:
- Hand sanitizer toolkit to support pharmacies seeking to address hand sanitizer shortages.
- USP's COVID-19 Public Health Response
- Report from Trust CoLab: Trust or Consequences 2040: Will innovations in health and medicine deliver? USP and the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
- Pandemic Preparedness for Regulators in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Wiley Scientific Publisher: Coronavirus research centre
Questions from FIP members and member organisations
- "Role of telepharmacy in pharmacist counselling to coronavirus - disease 2019 patients and medication dispensing errors" in Journal of telemedicine and telecare (October 2020)
- "Evaluation of Determinants of Effective Telepharmacy Services in Light of COVID-19" in Journal of telemedicine and e-health (October 2020)
- "Evolving Role of Community Pharmacists during COVID-19 in the UAE; Assessing Preparedness and Knowledge" in International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (December 2020)
- "In the midst of a pandemic", editorial signed by Ulf Janzon, president, FIP Industrial Pharmacy Section, in Industrial Pharmacy (June 2020)
- "Risks, challenges to repurposing approved medicines for COVID-19" (1 June 2020)
- "Apothekers wereldwijd tonen professionaliteit" (Pharmacists worldwide demonstrate professionalism) Interview with Gonҫalo Sousa Pinto, FIP Lead for practice development and transformation, in Pharmaceutisch Weekblad (22 May 2020)
- IDstewardship: Compilation of coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for pharmacists (12 May 2020)
- COVID Reference book. Available in six languages. (30 April 2020)
- Pharmacists' response to and involvement in the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pandemic (30 April 2020)
- “Apotheker weltweit halten zusammen” (Pharmacists worldwide stand together). Interview with Gonҫalo Sousa Pinto, FIP Lead for practice development and transformation, in Pharmazeutische Zeitung. (16 April 2020)
- How South Korea solved its face mask shortage (1 April 2020)
- Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands: Locked Up In Lockdown in the UK (31 March 2020)
- Survey summary: Industry response to COVID19 (26 March 2020)
- Kaya open access e-learning platform for humanitarians
- List of COVID-19 vaccine candidates
FIP COVID-19 Timeline
Pharmacy teams are risking their lives to continue to provide health care to their communities and support our health systems during this coronavirus pandemic. Inevitably, deaths of colleagues from COVID-19 are being reported to FIP from around the world. With this list, we would like to make sure that none of these colleagues are forgotten.
Adriana Alia Gómez (Spain)
Camillo Alinovi (Italy)
Oscar J. Álvarez Rodríguez (Spain)
Teresa Baca Cruces (Spain)
Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel (UK)
Reanna Casalini (Italy)
Victor Chanda (Zambia)
Florentina Cimiano Valera (Spain)
Jaime Clavijo (Spain)
Raffaele Corbellini (Italy)
María del Carmen Cuadrado (Spain)
Sean D.Boynes (USA)
Paolo D’Ambrogi (Italy)
Francesco De Donno (Italy)
Santiago Díez García (Spain)
İsmail Durmuş (Turkey)
Plumarz K Ferzandi (India)
Patrizio Forti Paolini (Italy)
Amparo Gadea (Spain)
Pedro García (Spain)
İhsan Giray (Turkey)
Julio Gutiérrez Montalvo (Spain)
Himmet Taştan Kardaşlar (Turkey)
Fernando Marcantonio (Italy)
Fermín Martínez (USA)
Abdelilah Mesfioui (Morocco)
José Tomás Mijimolle (Spain)
Ekrem Özdemir (Pharmacy technician, Turkey)
Shashikant Parekh (UK)
Mehool Patel (UK)
Hilario Pellín (Spain)
Antonio Perani (Italy)
Nieves Quiralte Abello (Spain)
Birender Rawat (UK)
Michel Renson (Belgium)
Lorenzo Repetto (Italy)
Daniela Rigoni (Italy)
Manuel Ruiz (Spain)
Francisco Javier Santamaría Blanco (Spain)
Yves-Emmanuel Segui (USA)
Pooja Sharma (Hospital pharmacist, UK)
Mandy Siddorn (Community pharmacy technician, UK)
Süreyya Sıpkınkurt (Turkey)
Yingjie Song (China)
Navin Shantilal Talati (UK)
Antonio Tilli (Italy)
Taki Turkyilmaz (Turkey)
Merih Yalçınöz (Turkey)
Yücel Yildirim (Turkey)
Jermaine Wright (UK)
Luis (surname withheld) (Spain)
Pharmacist (name withheld) (Spain)
Pharmacist (name withheld) (Spain)
Pharmacist (name withheld) (Spain)
Pharmacist (name withheld) (Spain)