CDC guidelines stress pharmacists’ role in large-scale immunization clinics

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Best practices laid out in CDC document

CDC has released new guidelines that offer a comprehensive blueprint for successful large-scale influenza immunization clinics. The document describes best practices that span both clinical and practical matters for planning and conducting clinics.

Many of the guidelines address logistics: crowd management, smooth traffic flow, comfortable waiting areas, areas that offer privacy for those receiving the vaccine, and spaces dedicated to vaccine preparation. Adequate supplies, such as alcohol swabs, hand sanitizer, and biohazard containers, are important. Clinics should define roles clearly, with volunteers or employees assigned to sign-in, payment and reimbursement, screening, identifying contraindications, security, and relieving others to ensure breaks and rest. Staff should be cross-trained, the guidelines say, to flexibly meet changing circumstances caused by fluctuating demands.

The guidelines are important because many of the most successful large-scale immunization efforts are conducted in non–health care settings.

“Our coalition believes that the ideal place for a child to be vaccinated is in their medical home, but we feel that we and other vaccinating partners, like pharmacists, can be a supplement to the medical home for routine vaccinations like flu,” said Tiffany Tate, MHS, executive director of the Maryland Partnership for Prevention (MPP). Her organization was a national winner for partnership at the 2016 APhA Immunization Champion Awards.

MPP and its coalition partners vaccinated an average of 900 children a day during a school-located influenza vaccination initiative and nearly 1,000 children during a 3-day community-based effort. “We did 60 flu clinics over an 8-day period in Howard County and 9 flu clinics over a 3-day period in Baltimore County,” Tate said. Student pharmacists from the University of Maryland assisted in the campaign. “We were thrilled with the knowledge and professionalism of the pharmacy students and look forward to expanding immunization coverage through these partnerships.”

For more information, visit www.pharmacytoday.org for the upcoming June 2016 issue of Pharmacy Today.

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