The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) recognizes immunizations as one of the greatest public health accomplishments and supports National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which is observed throughout August to celebrate the benefits of vaccination and to highlight the importance of adhering to regular vaccinations for people of all ages.
To get the most from immunizations, APhA recommends that patients “protect yourself, your family, and your community by keeping your immunization record up-to-date” and be proactive after receiving a vaccination by doing the following:
- Ask your pharmacist and other health care providers to update your immunization record card
- Ask your pharmacist and other health care providers to report the vaccination to the immunization registry
- Carry and share your updated immunization record/card with every member of your health care team
Patients’ access to their health care records is critical. The ability to retrieve health records can empower individuals to participate more actively in their health care and make informed decisions about what immunizations to pursue and when to pursue them. In addition, access to this information supports the “immunization neighborhood” - collaboration, coordination, and communication among immunization stakeholders dedicated to meeting the immunization needs of the patient and protecting the community from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Every year, thousands of Americans are hospitalized, and some die, from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. Children, adolescents and adults can avoid serious diseases by receiving scheduled immunizations at the appropriate times. Patients should talk to their pharmacists and other health care professionals to make sure they are up to date on vaccines recommended for them.
In an effort to make this message more visible to patients, APhA – with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – created a poster that will be displayed in pharmacies and other healthcare settings to deliver the message to patients and healthcare providers of updating, reporting, carrying and sharing immunization information, and remind and encourage patients to get needed vaccinations.
“The public outreach resulting from this activity supports a key element of a successful immunization neighborhood – communication and documentation,” according to Mitchel Rothholz, RPh, MBA, APhA Chief Strategy Officer. “Access and sharing of immunization information supports team-based and accessible patient care delivery.”