Emily Wicker, PharmD
PGY-1 Community-Based Pharmacy Resident The Ohio State University and Uptown Pharmacy
While pharmacies have been providing vaccines for years, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the accessibility of vaccines in community pharmacies and the role of pharmacists in strengthening vaccine confidence in our patients and communities. We can seize this opportunity to review patients vaccine histories and provide indicated vaccines while they are in the pharmacy for Covid boosters or medication pick-up.
Through an appointment-based model for vaccines, patients schedule their Covid-19 vaccinations online. Prior to their appointment, we review the Ohio Impact Statewide Immunization Information System (ImpactSIIS) to ensure that patients are eligible for their Covid-19 vaccine. While their report is pulled up we also assess their vaccine history to identify unmet vaccination needs based upon the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidelines . If a patient appears due for Shingrix, Prevnar 20, Pneumovax 23, or tetanus booster we discuss these vaccines with the patient. These discussions have resulted in many patients receiving indicated vaccines. Our students have helped us by reviewing the state ImpactSIIS and having these discussions with our patients. We plan to continue this review in our future flu seasons to ensure our patients are receiving all indicated vaccines.
We have also begun incorporating immunization reviews into our Medication Synchronization phone calls. Following this initial review of all of our patients, we plan to review each new patient as they enroll in the program and set up a regular rotation through our patients to ensure they are staying up to date with recommended vaccines. The Covid-19 pandemic has provided community pharmacies with the challenge and opportunity to become a community center for vaccinations. We should capitalize on this opportunity and ensure that our patients think of us to discuss vaccines and provide our community with protection for vaccine preventable diseases. By creating a workflow that builds a more clinical approach to providing vaccinations, we not only help protect our patients and communities but continue to build a revenue stream for our pharmacy.