Flu shots are less of a sticking point this year. Pharmacists are easy to reach and ready to immunize!

Happy second week of American Pharmacists Month 2018!

I hope by now you’ve gotten a chance to visit pharmacistsmonth.com to explore all the decorative, media, and patient outreach materials we’ve put together for you. If not, get on that!

Establishing pharmacists as valuable members of the immunization neighborhood has been a major priority for APhA, and we’re working with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to help pharmacists around the world become more established as immunizers and recognized as vital to global public health efforts.

I got my flu shot last week at Grubb’s Pharmacy, the oldest pharmacy in Washington, DC. Dr. Damika Walker did the deed. After more than 20 years of promoting and training pharmacists as immunizers, it’s still a treat to get stuck by one, and to pay them not only for the product, but for their service. I say, “Please take my money,” I’ve never been turned down.

And it looks like I’m not alone!

I recently read the results of a nationally representative Walgreens survey that reflects just how seriously the respondents took last season’s deadly flu. According to a Becker’s Hospital Review story about the survey, 73% of Americans plan to get a flu shot earlier this year. Nearly 80% of respondents or members of their families have had the flu in the past 3 years, and 37% went to work while sick with the flu. If anything demonstrates how important it is to protect yourself and your family from the flu, it’s that last number.

The public seems to be getting the message that immunization keeps people from missing work, being hospitalized, or developing the complications that can accompany the flu!

The ease and accessibility of getting a flu shot from pharmacists like you surely influences the willingness to get immunized. There’s no appointment needed, and a pharmacy is close at hand for most Americans. The dozens of people who walk up to your pharmacy counter to receive their flu vaccine each day are proof that pharmacists are on the patient’s health care team and improving public health.

The time you spend immunizing a patient also offers the opportunity to start a conversation about the range of patient care services you provide. This American Pharmacists Month we are emphasizing that pharmacists are “Easy to Reach and Ready to Help.” We want patients to know that a short conversation or an in-depth consultation with a pharmacist can make a big difference in their immediate and long-term health.

Thank you for all you do to protect patients from the flu and for providing stellar patient care, even as the pace accelerates to keep up with patients’ needs this time of year.