The American Pharmacists Association(APhA) has called on its membersto perform a triage role during this season'sinfluenza vaccine shortage inorder to preserve vaccine supplies for"patients at greatest risk of complicationsif they get the flu."
In urging health care practitionersto follow Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC) guidelines fordetermining which individuals shouldbe immunized, APhA Executive VicePresident John Gans said that thenation's pharmacists "are in a primeposition to identify patients and educatethem on their need for a[n]influenza vaccination."
Many individuals who shouldreceive flu shots are taking chronicmedications, and, as a result, "pharmacistscan utilize prescription recordsto identify and, in many cases, immunizethose patients against influenzaand pneumococcal disease," he said.
Healthy individuals under age 65who do not meet the CDC criteria forthe vaccine "should allow otherpatients in need the opportunity to beimmunized," the APhA official added."Avoid placing health care providersin an awkward position" by demandingthe vaccine, he told consumers.