As influenza season begins anew, patients are once again turning to their pharmacists for help not only treating the disease, but preventing it altogether.
Health care providers have made considerable progress in vaccinating their patients against the flu, but there is still more work to be done. According to data from the CDC, although flu vaccination rates steadily increased between the 2010-2011 and 2016-2017 flu seasons, only 59.0% of children and 43.3% of adults received a flu vaccine last year.1
However, research has shown that pharmacists can play an integral role in ensuring that patients are immunized. A recent study estimated that permitting pharmacists to administer flu vaccines led to 4.1 million adults receiving the vaccine and 81,000 to 134,000 fewer influenza infections among adults in 2013. Additionally, adults were 7.8% more likely to receive a flu vaccine if they lived in a state that allowed pharmacists to be immunizers.2 Pharmacists are now able to administer the flu shot in all 50 states, presenting them with an opportunity to make a significant impact on vaccination rates and overall influenza activity.
To help pharmacists prepare for the 2017-2018 flu season, this Cold, Cough & Flu issue of Pharmacy Times® contains practical information on influenza and other common ailments at this time of year, as well as resources on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tonsillitis, and more.
With each new flu season comes new opportunities to educate patients on the importance of vaccination. As essential and accessible members of the health care team, pharmacists stand poised to help patients take charge of their health.
Thank you for reading!
Mike Hennessy, Sr
Chairman and CEO