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Importance of Immunizations to Protect Public Health

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A Statement of the American Pharmacists Association

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), issued the following statement on the important role childhood and lifespan vaccinations play in protecting personal and public health.

“In recent weeks, a renewed discussion has emerged over childhood vaccinations, their efficacy and their safety,” said Thomas E. Menighan, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO. “The facts are that vaccines work and America’s pharmacists support vaccination as an important public health measure. Vaccines were created to protect the public against harmful and potentially deadly diseases. Because of vaccinations, many dangerous diseases are now preventable.

“APhA encourages individuals to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities against vaccine-preventable disease by staying up to date on their immunizations. There are many children and adults in the U.S. who cannot receive vaccinations because of medical conditions, such as a suppressed immune system, or age limitations. By vaccinating as many people as we can, we create a ‘herd immunity’ that helps us protect others in our communities who are not able to receive these vaccines. This is how we virtually eradicated smallpox in the United States decades ago, and, until recently, greatly reduced the number of measles cases. As more people choose not to immunize, herd immunity is weakened and it may expose our most susceptible patients to potentially deadly diseases.

“Pharmacists are an important community source of information on vaccinations, and where authorized, vaccine administrators. They are a great resource for parents and caregivers who wish to better understand their vaccination needs and the immunization schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). They are a knowledgeable and accessible member of the immunization neighborhood and work in conjunction with other members of the patient’s health care team to achieve optimal outcomes. In short, if someone has any questions about the efficacy and importance of immunizations, they can talk with their local pharmacist.”

APhA supports the evidence-based vaccine recommendations of ACIP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information on lifespan vaccination schedules, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com

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