Pharmacists on Front Lines in Administering Flu Vaccinations

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Friday, August 12, 2011
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) recently highlighted the results of a public-private partnership campaign in Palm Beach County, Florida which underscore the valuable role pharmacies can play in helping patients prepare for the upcoming flu season—including administering influenza vaccinations.

The partnership was comprised of the Palm Beach County Health Department, Palm Beach County Pharmacy Association, and several local pharmacies. The initiative further reinforced that pharmacists are an integral part of the nation’s ”first line resource” for health and wellness and can extend the reach for public health initiatives, according to NACDS.

The study, which was co-authored by NACDS, is published in the September/October issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

“The public-private collaboration between health departments and community pharmacists could improve individual and family readiness, increase access to trained and trusted professionals and strengthen overall preparedness and community resilience,” wrote Lisa A. Rosenfeld, MPH, of Emergency & Environmental Preparedness Solutions, Inc in Boca Raton, Florida and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues.

“Just as Americans depend on ‘first responders’ in times of emergency and disaster, and use hospitals as ’first receivers’ of victims, pharmacists have become the nation’s ‘first line resource’ for health and wellness,” the authors wrote, noting that pharmacists are perhaps the most easily accessible health care professionals.

“As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacy plays a critical role in the healthcare delivery system,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, in a statement. “Pharmacists in all 50 states can administer the flu vaccine to patients, offering yet another important opportunity for patient-pharmacist interaction. The success of this program described in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice provides additional support for efforts to further expand the age ranges and types of vaccinations for which pharmacists have authority. It also demonstrates yet again the unsurpassed value of pharmacy in improving patient health and lowering healthcare costs.”

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