Pharmacists are easy to reach and ready to immunize

How has American Pharmacists Month been treating you? While our work to support your well-being (more on that below) continues, we do hope you have had a chance to visit to explore all the decorative, media, and patient outreach materials we’ve put together to celebrate your contributions to health care. If not, you’ve got a few more days. We promise, you’ll be glad you did.

This month is also a prime time for flu shots! As we enter a flu season with an unknown impact, the public is fortunate that pharmacists are easy to reach and ready to immunize.

Last week I got my flu shot from a local pharmacist, along with more than 40 APhA employees at APhA headquarters. Don’t be fooled by my grimace face. The pharmacist did an excellent job. This year, I qualified for the high dose and was grateful for his excellent technique. We’re learning from our friends in the Southern Hemisphere that this could be a challenging flu season. Experts are recommending individuals get their flu shot by the end of October to be protected against influenza. But it’s never too late, as long as the vaccine is available. As health professionals and valued members of the immunization neighborhood, we should “walk the walk” and be an example to others.

The ease, accessibility, and trust of getting vaccinated from pharmacists like you surely influences patients’ 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 and your community from the flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases, and for providing stellar patient care, even as the demands on your time increase to keep up with patients’ needs this time of year.

I also want to thank all of you who’ve taken a few minutes to fill out the Well-Being Index for Pharmacists. This is a validated screening tool invented by the Mayo Clinic to evaluate fatigue, depression, burnout, anxiety, and both mental and physical quality of life. You will receive immediate individualized feedback on how your well-being stacks up to that of your peers and whether you could be at risk for consequences at work or home. This is not a one-time survey—you can track your progress over time. It is available to all pharmacists, regardless of whether they are members of APhA.

Tom M Flu Shot