The Role of Pharmacists in Vaccine Administration and Education

The Role of Pharmacists in Vaccine Administration and Education

Approximately 90% of individuals in the United States have easy access to community pharmacies, making pharmacists the most accessible healthcare professionals for administering vaccines. According to a report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, more adults and children received their vaccines at pharmacies compared to non-pharmacy medical settings between 2018 and 2022. Pharmacists provide education and administer vaccines through medication therapy management (MTM).

To offer effective MTM consultations and prepare for the upcoming season, pharmacists must stay updated on the latest vaccines. Recently, the FDA approved two respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines, Arexvy from GSK and Abrysvo from Pfizer, for preventing lower respiratory tract disease in adults aged 60 years or older. The CDC recommends these RSV vaccines through shared clinical decision-making with healthcare providers.

In addition to RSV vaccines, influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are currently available. Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have submitted regulatory applications to the FDA for their updated COVID-19 booster vaccines. Scientists have also identified the strains to include in the 2023-2024 influenza season vaccines. September and October are ideal times for most individuals to receive an influenza vaccine.

To ensure accessibility, the US Department of Health & Human Services extended coverage for pharmacy personnel to administer seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccines to individuals 3 years or older through December 2024. Evidence shows that pharmacist involvement in patient education and vaccine administration improves immunization uptake. During MTM consultations, pharmacists assess patients’ immunization status, recommend necessary vaccines, address concerns, and emphasize the importance of vaccines in protecting patients and their families against serious diseases.

After administering vaccines, pharmacists document the information in the state’s immunization registry and follow up with patients about necessary COVID-19 boosters. The CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool is a useful resource for pharmacists to determine recommended immunizations for individuals aged 19 years or older.

Pharmacists play a vital role in vaccine administration, education, and countering vaccine misinformation. With their accessibility and expertise, they contribute significantly to improving public health and increasing immunization rates.

– IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science and the Global Healthy Living Foundation
– Pfizer
– Moderna
– US Department of Health & Human Services
– J Am Pharm Assoc
– CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool

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