Barriers to visiting medical practices such as transportation and busy school schedules pose a risk for staying up-to-date on important immunizations for adolescents and young adults. Given these barriers, knowing your options for vaccinations is important and simpler than one might think.
Pharmacist Involvement in Vaccination
Pharmacists have been key players in the public health sector for a long time, offering medications and other healthcare resources and services to patients on the go. Dating back to the 1990s, pharmacists have been important advocates for immunizations, even before they had the ability to administer them in their practice. Since then, they have begun to vaccinate patients, contributing to overall vaccination rates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists played a key role in America’s health and recovery by providing over 350 million clinical interventions including services and vaccinations to over 150 million individuals. Moving forward, pharmacists will continue to be essential to the field of public health not only by administering vaccines but also in their ability to provide accurate information to patients about their vaccinations, as well as the risks associated with not being vaccinated. The patient’s healthcare team includes pharmacists and all members of the team need access to and the ability to deliver and reinforce messaging related to the importance of vaccinations. Every provider encounter provides an opportunity to make a difference.
Updated Adolescent and Young Adult Vaccine Recommendations
With vaccine recommendations being updated frequently, it’s important to know where to find the most up-to-date, accurate information. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a recommended vaccination schedule by age from birth to 60 years and older. A preview of the 2023 Teen Schedule is available below:
Pharmacists want to help you stay up-to-date on your vaccinations and it’s as easy as locating your local pharmacy. Most national and community pharmacy websites offer accessible store locators and immunization search engines, such as Vaccines.gov, are great resources as well.
If you are homebound:
- Contact your state or local health department
- Dial 211 to connect with essential community services
- Call The Aging Network at 1-800-677-1116
- Contact the Disability Information and Access Line at 1-888-677-1199
- Call the hotline for Medicare recipients at 1-800-633-4227 (TTY 1-877-486-2048)
And pharmacies don’t just provide access to immunizations, they also provide other care resources and information through their access points and community engagement. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what your local pharmacist can do for you!