Pharmacist-Provided Immunizations and Updates on COVID-19 Vaccines and Recommendations - Episode 10

Vaccine Administration and Care Management - Pediatric-Specific

Strategies for pediatric-specific care are explored, with an emphasis on vaccine advocation and administration geared toward parents and caregivers.

Ed Cohen, PharmD, FAPhA: Wes, I’m thinking about some of the comments that you previously made about providing information and telling the truth, and instead of making an issue of the fact that they won’t or don’t immunize down to this age, giving that confidence vote and triaging them back to another provider that can and would give that vaccine.

Wesley Nuffer, PharmD, BCPS, CDCES: Absolutely, Ed. To Lynette’s point, when that emergency legislature came out, there were a fair number of pediatrician groups and medical groups that weren’t supportive of that because of how important child well visits are and the concern that if the patients were getting vaccinated outside of the pediatricians’ office, that they wouldn’t be able to get these patients in for other important and necessary conversations. It’s important for not only your patients but also our interprofessional collaboration that we’re working with our pediatricians and recognizing the value that they bring forward.

My concern is that the required training that our students go through doesn’t go through the thigh injections. It’s deltoid and behind the arm, and that isn’t how you vaccinate these young children. Any time we want to do something in pharmacy, we want to do it well and properly. I absolutely support your pharmacists, Traci, but if they would go that direction, you have to have training that specifies how you’d inject infants. This is a different technique that what we have our pharmacists doing. It’s important to make sure we’re doing it right if we’re going to do it.

Maybe there’s a need for pharmacists to do that in some rural areas. I’d hate to put up barriers if that pharmacist wants to take that training and learn how to do it. But let’s be collaborative. Let’s be advocates. Way before we could all vaccinate across 50 states, advocacy was huge. APhA [American Pharmacists Association] had this big call that if you didn’t want to immunize, to advocate that they should get immunized and tell them where they can go to get this done. At the end of the day, we all have the same goals and interests for our patients, and we can work collaboratively to make sure those things happen.

Traci Poole, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP: Wes makes a great point about the immunization administration technique for children. I believe the PREP [Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness] Act required CE [continuing education] on pediatric immunization to be eligible. I don’t know how well we did with ensuring that box is checked, but I have a geriatrics board certification. I don’t deal with children often. To your point, it’s definitely something that we want to do well, and we need to be knowledgeable about how to do it. I’d caution this mass rollout of, “This is business as usual. It’s just an immunization,” especially if you’re going to be immunizing patients younger than 3 years old. Because those pediatrician offices and nurses are very well versed and trained in how to give those, especially with screaming babies. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to that.

Transcript edited for clarity.