October 14th, 2016

Pharmacists are Key Players in Pandemic Plans

Health officials trust pharmacies to efficiently immunize patients

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The current news headlines are now focused on the Zika virus. Zika replaced last year’s headlines about the Ebola virus.

History has shown that next year’s headlines will undoubtedly feature another virus.

Public Health officials have tracked the patterns of influenza A in both humans and birds. They are concerned about a potential flu pandemic.

These officials are staying ready, and assessing their immunization networks, in case of an emergency.

With 280,000 certified immunizing pharmacists across America, located in easily accessible pharmacies, these health officials know to include these trusted resources in their pandemic plans.

The Centers of Disease and Control (CDC) report that 25 percent of Americans were vaccinated in a pharmacy. Moreover, the CDC is strongly supportive of greater pharmacy involvement in vaccination programs.

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This research team analyzed data from various CDC assessments of local jurisdictions that received immunization and emergency preparedness funding. This database reports 88% of these jurisdictions include pharmacies in pandemic vaccine plans.

Approximately one-third of these jurisdictions have already executed formal relationships with pharmacies.

The CDC believes pharmacists can work with public health departments to improve pandemic preparedness coordination. During a pandemic, pharmacists have the ability to efficiently immunize patients.

Given the health, social and economic impact of infectious diseases with pandemic potential, the first question is always, “Is there a vaccine?”

But too often we find that the vaccines we need most are not available when needed.

When a pandemic hits America, involving as many health providers in diverse locations is the cornerstone of any successful immunization campaign. By integrating pharmacists into these networks, we are all better prepared for any pandemic.