July 30, 2020
Whenever a COVID-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective, Utah will be primed to ensure it is as accessible as possible.
A unanimous vote in a public meeting of the Utah Board of Pharmacy this week moved to add “COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2)” to the list of vaccines approved for pharmacies to offer on the state’s Vaccine Administration Protocol.
This change will put Utah among only a handful of states leading out on the issue of enabling broad access to a COVID vaccine that rigorous testing and research proves safe and effective. In May, Minnesota became the first state to enact a COVID vaccine policy to allow pharmacies to administer FDA-approved COVID vaccines to patients. New York has since followed suit with its own COVID vaccine policy. Calls for similar policy reforms are being made in states like California.
In Utah, the vote by the Board of Pharmacy – which is housed within the state Division of Professional Licensing – isn’t the end for this process. The amended vaccine protocol will still be brought to the Utah Department of Health and a few other stakeholder groups for approval, before it is finalized and posted. This will likely take several months.
But the Board of Pharmacy’s leadership on this issue is positioning Utah well in its fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. If a safe and effective COVID vaccine is discovered by the global testing and research efforts currently underway, Utahns who choose to get immunized will likely have the benefit of convenient access at their local pharmacy.
In other words, Utah is being primed for its recovery from COVID-19.
Being truly educated means understanding one of the most powerful forces in the world: religion. Being a truly educated American means understanding the importance of protecting that force: freedom of religion.
The Washington model illustrates that by recognizing potential conflicts and enacting appropriate accommodations, schools can do their work without unnecessarily infringing the religious exercise of students. It is a model other states, including Utah, should follow.
Caring for children and families in vulnerable situations is an undoubted public priority, and everyone willing to provide good-faith help is needed.