Pharmacies are now the second most common source for immunizations, a fact that underscores the key role pharmacists play on the care team.
Retail stores with pharmacies are playing a strong and growing role in the influenza vaccination effort, according to the June 17, 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, “For adults overall, a doctor’s office was the most common place (39.8%) for receipt of the 2010-11 influenza vaccine, with stores (eg, supermarkets or drug stores) (18.4%) and workplaces (17.4%) the next most common,” the CDC report found. (See our story at www.pharmacytimes.com/web-exclusives/For-Convenient-Flu-Shots-Patients-Favor-Pharmacies.)
Further, “The proportion of adults vaccinated in stores (18.4%) during the 2010-11 season increased in each age group compared with the 1998-99 and 2006-07 influenza seasons, when 5% and 7% of adults, respectively, were vaccinated in stores. This increase likely resulted partly from changes in state laws allowing pharmacists to administer influenza vaccinations to adults, and subsequently, more pharmacists offering influenza vaccinations,” according to the CDC Report.
So, in my opinion, this is just one more piece of clear evidence that pharmacists are playing an increasing role in preventive health care. As state laws allow pharmacists to administer more vaccines or administration to younger age individuals, we should see immunization rates increase.
We should also see the public recognizing the pharmacist as an integral health team member. I think this expanded role has been good for our profession and society—despite some of the drawbacks voiced by pharmacists about the workload. (See my editorial on this subject at www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2011/February2011/EditorsNote-0211.)
Do you agree?