Integrating pharmacies into public health program planning for pandemic influenza vaccine response
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Integrating pharmacies into public health program planning for pandemic influenza vaccine response
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    Background During an influenza pandemic, to achieve early and rapid vaccination coverage and maximize the benefit of an immunization campaign, partnerships between public health agencies and vaccine providers are essential. Immunizing pharmacists represent an important group for expanding access to pandemic vaccination. However, little is known about nationwide coordination between public health programs and pharmacies for pandemic vaccine response planning. Methods To assess relationships and planning activities between public health programs and pharmacies, we analyzed data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assessments of jurisdictions that received immunization and emergency preparedness funding from 2012 to 2015. Results Forty-seven (88.7%) of 53 jurisdictions reported including pharmacies in pandemic vaccine distribution plans, 24 (45.3%) had processes to recruit pharmacists to vaccinate, and 16 (30.8%) of 52 established formal relationships with pharmacies. Most jurisdictions plan to allocate less than 10% of pandemic vaccine supply to pharmacies. Discussion While most jurisdictions plan to include pharmacies as pandemic vaccine providers, work is needed to establish formalized agreements between public health departments and pharmacies to improve pandemic preparedness coordination and ensure that vaccinating pharmacists are fully utilized during a pandemic.
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