As drug store chains step up their flu shot campaigns this year, pharmacy technicians will be counted on to provide much-needed support, according to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).


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PTCB highlights pharmacy technicians' role in vaccine efforts

August 24th, 2010

WASHINGTON – As drug store chains step up their flu shot campaigns this year, pharmacy technicians will be counted on to provide much-needed support, according to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The board said Tuesday that PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) will provide pharmacists with logistical support plus perform greater tasks within their scope of practice to keep operations running smoothly and enable pharmacists to spend more time with patients.

Pharmacy technicians' efforts will be critical in the upcoming flu season, given that this year's "universal" flu shot — guarding against seasonal and H1N1 flu — will make it more convenient to get immunized and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot.

In addition, the nation's three biggest drug chains — Walgreens, CVS Caremark and Rite Aid — and other pharmacy operators plan expanded flu vaccination programs for the 2010-11 flu season and are getting the word out even earlier than last year. And last week the American Pharmacists Association pointed consumers to their local pharmacy as the place to go to get a flu vaccination.

PTCB cited Walgreens' flu vaccine program last year to illustrate the support of pharmacy technicians. The board noted that Walgreens immunized more than 7.4 million patients against H1N1 and seasonal influenza last flu season with the direct support of PTCB CPhTs. 

"We believe PTCB CPhTs enhance the pharmacy team, resulting in higher-quality care for patients," stated Melissa Murer Corrigan, PTCB executive director and chief executive officer. "We applaud the influenza campaign efforts of Walgreens and its pharmacist immunizers and appreciate the way they have effectively utilized the skill sets of CPhTs across the country to better connect with the communities and patients they serve."

Walgreens has over 25,000 certified immunizers — including pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — and the drug chain requires its pharmacy technicians to be PTCB-certified, according to PTCB, which added that all Walgreens store managers also are PTCB-certified.

"Our pharmacists and other certified immunizers are specially trained and well-positioned to provide immunizations in communities across the country. PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians at Walgreens are essential to maintaining pharmacy operations and making sure the pharmacists have the support to give the immunizations," Dan Luce, director of pharmacy affairs for Walgreens, said in a statement. "The involvement of CPhTs is critical to our campaign's success."

PTCB noted that a recent CDC report estimated that over 12% of Americans received their flu shot from a pharmacy or drug store during the 2009-10 influenza season.

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