Pharmacists Play a Vital Role in Providing Immunizations in Their Communities

Increased access to immunizing pharmacists contributes to improving vaccination rates

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Through outreach to student pharmacists, pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel, APhA has delivered the message that we must set a good example for our patients

Washington, DC (Vocus) April 3, 2010

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) applauds the efforts of pharmacists, public health, community leaders and other immunization stakeholders in their collaborative efforts to administer more than 90 million doses during the 2009-2010 influenza season. The release by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the results regarding immunization rates of the general population and healthcare personnel demonstrate great strides made by immunization providers and that more work, education and collaboration are needed to further protect the public. With authority to administer vaccines in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, pharmacists and student pharmacists were integral to the achievements highlighted by the CDC.

“Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to play an important role in helping patients get immunizations,” said APhA CEO and Executive Vice President Thomas Menighan. “Pharmacies are located in virtually every community in the United States; many have extended hours of service, and offer immunization services without requiring patients to make an appointment. With pharmacists administering over 14 million influenza vaccine doses this season and collaborating with federal and state governments and other immunization stakeholders, ‘we walked-the-walk’, not just talked about what we can do. We could have done more if we had timely access to vaccine.”

APhA conducts a national model certificate training program for pharmacists, “Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery” is based on CDC immunization practice standards. CDC officials and immunization experts participate in the curriculum development. The 20 hour training program is recognized by the CDC for its content and quality. APhA ramped up its efforts to train additional pharmacists to provide immunizations to address the public health risk posed by the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. To date, over 100,000 pharmacists have been trained to administer immunizations. Ninety-three percent of those trained went through programs administered by APhA and its
130 licensed partners in over 2,000 immunization training programs.

CDC’s survey highlights the need for continued outreach and education to healthcare personnel. APhA supports efforts to increase immunization rates of healthcare professionals, for the purposes of protecting patients, and urges all pharmacy personnel to receive all immunizations recommended by the
CDC for healthcare workers. “Through outreach to student pharmacists, pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel, APhA has delivered the message that we must set a good example for our patients,” said to APhA Chief of Staff Mitch Rothholz.

As recently reported by the CDC, there has been a rise in the number of H1N1 cases in the Southeastern United States. There is currently regional flu activity in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, as well as local activity being reported in six other Southeastern states. H1N1 vaccinations are still available at pharmacies throughout the U.S. and individuals who have not been vaccinated against H1N1 are still encouraged to do so.

About the American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA members provide care in all practice settings, including community pharmacies, health systems, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, hospice settings, and the uniformed services.

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