Immunization Station: Indiana pharmacies prepping for flu season and COVID-19
Katie Hettinger, PharmD
Resident Pharmacist, Topeka Pharmacy
Team Indiana consists of 19 pharmacies across the state that already administer vaccines per the state protocol. Due to COVID-19 concerns, experts are expecting more Americans to get their flu shot this year. According to the CDC, the 2019-2020 flu season led to the highest overall vaccination rate with 52% of Americans receiving their flu shot. Flu vaccine manufacturers expect to make at least 20 million more vaccines for the 2020-2021 season than the 2019-2020 season due to higher projections for influenza vaccination this year.
Team Indiana pharmacies are also learning about COVID-19 vaccinations and partnering with CPESN to deliver COVID-19 vaccines in our communities. Many Team Indiana pharmacies met with a COVID-19 taskforce representative a few weeks ago to discuss considerations and brainstorm ideas for the increase in workflow and new requirements for COVID-19 vaccines, such as obtaining freezer units to store the vaccine. Ideas like partnering with local health departments and utilizing students to help with administration were discussed.
Pharmacies in Indiana have also been busy administering childhood vaccines due to expanded vaccination access passed by the HHS in August. Many children have obtained their flu vaccines at Team Indiana pharmacies in order to help close the growing access gap to vaccines as physician offices limit hours and contact in an effort to slow the progression and spread of COVID-19.
Many pharmacies are getting creative with curbside flu shot administration and drive-thru flu vaccine clinics in order to keep their communities safe. Increasing delivery services for prescriptions as well as offering telehealth counseling and appointments for additional clinical services are great ways to still remain accessible to the community at safe distances. How is your pharmacy staying safe and accessible to the community during COVID-19?