Federal Health Officials Laud Pharmacists’ Immunization Role

By Kevin Schweers

With the influenza vaccination season around the corner, officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recognizing pharmacists’ role in expanding access to immunizations and seeking pharmacists’ continued help, according to a letter to pharmacists from HHS and CDC that was published by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Highlights from the letter include:

  • Pharmacists’ “collective efforts have made a tremendous contribution to raising awareness and increasing access to vaccines.”
  • U.S. adults’ vaccination rates remain “unacceptably low”, particularly in the cases of Tdap (tetanus–diphtheria–acellular pertussis), pneumococcal and zoster vaccines.
  • Requests for pharmacists’ continued help with issues such as educating patients about vaccines that are appropriate for them; recording immunizations in the state or local vaccine registry; and continuing to serve as role models within the health care community, as pharmacists rank highly among health care providers in terms of receiving their annual influenza vaccinations.

As recently reported to NCPA members through the eNews Weekly member communication, for the 2013-2014 influenza season CDC has issued two new influenza vaccine information statements (VISs)—one for inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) (“flu shot”) and the other for live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccine (LAIV).

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