When and if a COVID-19 vaccine emerges, pharmacies can play a fundamental role in boosting vaccination rates and increasing testing levels, reports The Hill.
The pharmacist is often considered the most accessible health professional, and diagnostic testing in pharmacies is increasingly recognized as an effective mechanism to improve detection and treatment for contagious diseases, notably for streptococcal pharyngitis, influenza, HIV, and hepatitis C.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 31 percent of people 65 years and older received their influenza vaccination at a community pharmacy or a pharmacy within a bricks-and-mortar store, and the numbers are growing. The CDC National Vaccine Advisory Committee points to the convenience, extended hours, possible reduced cost, and improvement in public understanding of immunizations as benefits of pharmacy-based vaccinations. Given that 90 percent of influenza-related deaths are in older adults, the outsized benefit to our seniors of community-based vaccination is clear.