Overcoming Vaccine Hurdles With Pharmacists
The health sector administers millions of vaccines for different diseases each year. Still, as many as 42,000 die yearly from vaccine-preventable illnesses. For decades, immunization has been a challenging task for the medical sector. For starters, the supply chain for vaccines can be complex. And if the vaccines do get to the population, many choose not to be inoculated. Here is where pharmacists can play a critical role in disease prevention.
A recent role for pharmacists
Pharmacists have extensive knowledge of medications and how these drugs interact with others. Vaccines have been added to this portfolio. The concept of a vaccine is to introduce a virus into the body so the immune system can develop the necessary antibodies. So vaccines aren’t technically medication, but the pharmacist’s expertise shines here. Since the 1990s, pharmacists have been able to administer vaccines to prevent diseases, which helps in several ways.
About 66% of the population is on at least one prescription medication. These are often crucial for disease prevention and management. Pharmacists will have a deep understanding of the medication and how each should be used. This expertise extends to vaccinations. Pharmacists train to administer vaccines and understand the legal and medical ramifications involved. The pharmacist will also be aware of any harmful interactions with existing medication and can manage this process.
Making vaccines more accessible
Logistics is one of the biggest challenges for vaccines. Pharmacists can form part of the supply chain, reducing the burden on hospitals and clinics. With the COVID-19 immunization drive, for instance, getting the entire population vaccinated will be difficult. Community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and those inside big-box retail stores can receive, store, and administer vaccines. Now, all someone has to do is visit a pharmacist who will perform screening before giving the shot.
Information is everything
The data around vaccines can be confusing. For any successful vaccine drive, there needs to be helpful information passed to the population. Pharmacists can help share information, educate the community, and debunk any myths that accompany vaccines. The more experts are sharing information about vaccines, the better the chances of disease prevention.
A trusted advocate for immunizations
The biggest challenge in immunization is the public's uptake level due to a lack of trust in the vaccines. The concept of vaccines is scary for some people. There are also cases of undesirable side effects that may happen with immunizations. Pharmacists, particularly community pharmacists, are role models of health and disease prevention. People trust pharmacists. Community pharmacists will do what’s in the best interest of the community. This is a powerful asset in the widespread acceptance of vaccines.
Compounding to manage diseases
Immunization is a small part of disease prevention. Some patients will need medication before and after the vaccine to manage symptoms. Unfortunately, some medication is not available on the market or in a particular form. Compound pharmacists can create special formulations in different forms, like liquid or topical, to help patients with specific needs.
A powerful ally in disease prevention
Some diseases are preventable with the proper immunization. However, there are still several challenges that come with the process. Pharmacists play an essential role in ensuring more people become inoculated and trust the vaccines. By administering the vaccines, pharmacists can also make disease prevention more accessible. Speak with community or hospital pharmacists about the vaccine process. These experts will provide all the information necessary to make the right decision.