Influenza remained the most commonly administered vaccine (88%) among the practice sites represented in survey responses. The majority of practice sites also reported the current administration of pneumococcal (77%), herpes zoster (75%), and tetanus (57%) vaccines. However, fewer than one-half of the practice sites were reported as currently administering vaccines for hepatitis B (47%), hepatitis A (43%), meningococcal (43%), human papillomavirus (37%), international travel (25%), and pediatric patients (10%).
The National Vaccine Advisory Committee's (NVAC) updated "Standards for Adult Immunization Practice" are highlighted in the Special Immunization Section of the March Pharmacy Today. The new standards highlight the importance of collaboration between immunizing and non-immunizing professionals and support the concept of an "immunization neighborhood." Pharmacists play a central role in establishing an immunization neighborhood by assessing the vaccination needs of all their patients, administering any necessary vaccines as allowed by state law, and appropriately documenting and following up with other health professionals to ensure continuity of care.
Pharmacists and other health professionals are encouraged to review their patients' vaccination status at each patient encounter and to educate patients on which vaccines should be administered. In addition, all professionals need to be up to date with the 2014 adult immunization recommendations so that patients can be properly informed. The hope is that these measures, along with improved communication between vaccination providers and resolution of access barriers, will improve adult immunization rates going forward.
The national survey assessed pharmacy-based immunizations on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Vaccine Program Office. Links to the Internet-based survey were e-mailed to pharmacists in all pharmacy practice settings from August 24 to September 14, 2013. Responses were received from 2,351 participants, a 35% response rate.
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