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Making the most out of every patient encounter

Like many of you the pharmacy where I practice is in the midst of a busy influenza vaccination season. This year the pharmacy was asked to provide influenza vaccinations for all of the public schools in our county hosting 15 clinics in total. Our pharmacists and pharmacy students have been extremely busy over the course of the past two weeks waking up early and vaccinating late into the day to ensure that the teachers, staff, and even some of their children are protected through influenza vaccinations.

With the recent authorization of booster doses for select individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, we have received a lot of questions from the teachers and staff whom we have been vaccinating, as to when they will be eligible to receive booster doses. We educate them that currently only those in their profession who completed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination series at least 6 months ago are eligible to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. If they are eligible, we then provide them with the locations that are currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. We are also able to share updates and what announcements to watch for if they received the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. We have found that everyone really appreciates the information we have shared.

During our clinics we also discuss other vaccinations that may be needed such as PPSV 23 and the herpes zoster vaccines. Many of the teachers and staff members that we have talked to were not aware of when they should receive those vaccines, so we provided individualized recommendations. Pharmacists are amazing sources of information, so I would encourage each and every one of you to assess vaccination status and then share information during each and every patient encounter. You never know what vaccine preventable diseases you may help a patient avoid by taking the time to provide education and immunizations!

Written by CPESN WV Lead Network Facilitator and FtP Practice Transformation Team Lead, Gretchen K. Garofoli, PharmD, BCACP, CTTS. Pictured are student pharmacists, Caitlin Forquer, Lexi Jackson, and Emily Wilfong who assisted Dr. Garofoli with an influenza vaccination clinic.

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