Stay on Top of Vaccine Recommendations to Counsel Patients

AUGUST 07, 2019
Mike Hennessy, Sr.
Twice a year, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) gets together and makes its recommendations about vaccines and their usage.

At its meeting in June, the ACIP made some very interesting suggestions, noting that all children and adolescents between ages 2 and 18 who have not previously received the hepatitis A vaccine should receive a catch-up vaccination and encouraging a change in the human papillomavirus vaccination guidelines to cover men up to age 26.

Although the CDC is not bound to accept the committee’s vote, it generally implements its decisions as guidance for health care professionals. Importantly, pharmacists need to stay on top of vaccine recommendations and any subsequent guidance changes like these.

As the most accessible health care professionals, pharmacists are in a great position to counsel parents about their children’s recommended vaccines, such as the seasonal influenza vaccine that is likely rolling into your pharmacy as I write this. Having discussions about vaccination with parents is especially important, given the abundance of misinformation about vaccines that is rampant online.

Our cover feature this month, “Recommend Back-to-School Immunizations,” notes that August is National Immunization Awareness Month and offers counseling suggestions for pharmacists for patients. The article suggests providing written information from trusted sources, such as the CDC, as well as reassuring parents about the extensive clinical studies conducted on these vaccines before their FDA approval.

“As your patients prepare their children for the start of the new school year, complete their back-to-school checklist with a discussion about immunizations. Make sure they are up-to-date and protected,” Athena Baglio, MBA, RPh, and Susan Mamula, PharmD, clinical pharmacists at Rite Aid in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, wrote in their article.

As Skidki-na-vse® Editor-in-Chief Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, noted in our recent “Progression of Immunization” Skidki-na-vse® Peer Exchange, which you can find online at pharmacytimes.com, “the pharmacist’s role is growing in administration of immunization. This provides new business and opportunities for pharmacies, as well as providing improved patient care. However, there are still many gaps to increasing the percentage of patients that get their recommended immunizations.”

This issue is chock-full of information for helping to fill those information gaps. We hope you enjoy it!

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