Adult Immunizations- Pharmacy Technician
The provision of immunizations is one of the most important public health achievements of the 20th century. The modern vaccine era ushered in interventions that have eradicated or greatly reduced several life-threatening infectious diseases in the U.S., including smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles and rubella. However, despite the availability of effective vaccines for a number of common diseases, immunization rates for many vaccines remains low. For example, the vaccination rate against influenza among non-institutionalized, high risk adults ( One approach for improving vaccination rates that has been successfully implemented over the last decade is to increase public access by providing vaccinations in pharmacies. As the most accessible health professionals in almost all communities, pharmacists are playing important roles in immunization advocacy, education, and administration. Today, every state except Maine has passed legislation authorizing pharmacists to administer immunizations. As of March 2008, an estimated 30,000 immunization-trained pharmacists in independent and chain pharmacies, clinics, and health care systems were actively involved in vaccinating their patients. This issue provides basic information that can serve as a checklist for initiating a pharmacy-based immunization program. Recommended adult vaccines are reviewed including those commonly administered by pharmacists (influenza, pneumococcal, herpes zoster, tetanus/diptheria/pertussis, and hepatitis B). The rationale for vaccination, current indications, side effects, precautions, and administration schedules are discussed and presented in easy-to-read tables. Vaccine “myths” and questions commonly asked by patients are simply explained in the Patient Connection.