John Beckner, RPh, discusses the importance of collaborating with the medical community on the provision of immunization services.
Ed Cohen, PharmD, FAPhA: We’ve addressed the fatigue and the stress on our staff, and we’ve talked about creating the urgency for patients to continue getting the flu vaccine from our pharmacy teams. We talked about balancing COVID-19 immunizations with other immunizations. We focused initially on pharmacy playing a central role, and being key to successful immunization campaigns, but there are a few other things. We talked about pediatricians, but collaboration with the medical community at large is important. We have to spend a minute or two on that, and then planning and executing a successful, comprehensive program. How do we help some of the independent stores understand how to do that and provide guidance as well? John, I’m going turn to you about that collaboration with the medical community at large, and then we’ll go from there.
John Beckner, RPh: Yes, when I think about collaboration with the medical community, I know you and I go way back with immunizations, and I think back to when pharmacies started immunizing patients in the mid to late 1990s. Those were the days when there were vaccine shortages. I remember one plant got shut down, people had planned clinics, and there weren’t a lot of vaccines to go around. Pharmacies prebooked patients, but physicians didn’t necessarily do any planning around ordering of vaccines, so oftentimes, they were left wanting. I remember the company I worked for, we made a lot of friends in the medical community by sharing the vaccines we were able to get with our physician colleagues. We were able to demonstrate a willingness to work with them for the greater good, and that’s similar to what’s going on today. I know there are a number of concerns on the part of the pediatric community, particularly with catch-up vaccinations for adolescents and children. One of their primary concerns has been about well-check visits going away if patients come to the pharmacy to get immunized. So, if there’s a way for pharmacy to work collaboratively with the medical community, particularly with the pediatric groups, I think that would be very beneficial. We need to figure out a way to bring the groups together to make that happen.
Transcript edited for clarity.