H1N1 Vaccine Puts Pharmacists on the Front Lines

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Schu, Group Editorial Director, (609) 716-7777, bschu@mdng.com

 
H1N1 Vaccine Puts Pharmacists on the Front Lines
Public demand for vaccinations reached an unprecedented high this flu season, launching pharmacists to the front lines of primary care and impacting the future of the profession.
 
PLAINSBORO, NJ (Feb. 24, 2010)—Along with increased awareness of the availability of vaccines for seasonal influenza and the H1N1 virus, the general public has gained a greater appreciation of pharmacists and their role in this important health care issue.
 
In response, the January 2010 issue of Pharmacy Times published an informative article titled “Vaccinations: The Expanding Role of Pharmacists.” In the article, contributor Yvette Terrie, BSPharm, RPh, educates pharmacists about the vital role vaccinations play in a wide variety of diseases, and reports on how they impact the pharmacy profession.
 
Vaccines save lives—more than 50,000 adults and 300 children in the United States die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases or from their complications. Immunizations—including those administered by pharmacists—assist in preventing an estimated 14 million cases of vaccine-preventable diseases and 33,000 cases of death. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which reviews and continually updates vaccination standards and schedules, recommends immunization against a total of 17 infectious diseases for adults and children in the United States.
 
Now that all 50 states allow pharmacists to administer vaccines, pharmacists are critically linked to the health of the nation. The permission comes with a hefty responsibility, according to Terrie, who writes that pharmacists “can be instrumental in providing patients with pertinent information to make informed choices when it comes to immunizations, in terms of the benefits as well as the risks.”
 
This responsibility applies even to pharmacists who opt not to become certified administrators, says Terrie. “Pharmacists who do not administer vaccines also have an important role in promoting the importance of immunization in other ways,” she writes.
 
As a result of the recent flu season, more patients may look to pharmacists to provide trustworthy information about vaccines. By educating themselves thoroughly and seeking insight from resources such as Terrie’s, pharmacists can fulfill this responsibility and support positive change in the profession. ■
 
Pharmacy Timesis a clinically-based, monthly journal providing practical information pharmacists can use in their everyday practice. Each issue contains articles and features covering medication errors, drug interactions, patient education, pharmacy technology, disease state management, patient counseling, product news, pharmacy law, and specialty pharmacy. Pharmacy Times is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of free continuing pharmacy education.
 
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