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NACDS rallies industry to address pertussis outbreaks
August 7th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Answering the call of public health authorities, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is promoting community pharmacy as a key outlet for vaccinations amid a rise in cases of whooping cough.
NACDS said Tuesday that Kathleen Jaeger, the association's senior vice president of pharmacy care and patient advocacy, is spreading the message via a multimedia campaign that bring attentions to the pertussis outbreaks and highlights the accessible, professional solution that community pharmacies provide.
A pharmacist, Jaeger is being featured in online, print and radio media via op-eds, interviews, news releases and other communication vehicles. According to NACDS, she will focus her efforts in Washington state, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared a whooping cough epidemic, and in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which have the next highest rates of reported incidences of the highly contagious respiratory disease.
"With their extensive expertise, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to promote and provide vaccines to patients," Jaeger stated. "We appreciate the CDC's recognition of community pharmacy's important role in the health care delivery system, and we stand ready to help protect patients and their loved ones from this disease."
In a letter addressed to "pharmacists and community vaccinators," the CDC has urged pharmacies and other health providers help raise awareness of whooping cough immunizations, because "as trusted health care professionals, research shows that [their] recommendation to receive needed vaccines is vital."
The CDC is reporting a threefold increase in pertussis rates in over a dozen states. Pharmacists can administer the Tdap vaccine — which protects against pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria in adults — in 43 states, including Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin.
Adults who come into close contact with young infants — including parents, grandparents, caretakers and others — should receive a dose of the Tdap vaccine at least two weeks prior to contact, the CDC recommends. The vaccination will help protect newborns, infants and school-age children against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women get the vaccination after 20 weeks of pregnancy and receive the influenza vaccine anytime during pregnancy.
This year, a number of retail pharmacy and clinic operators — such as Walgreens, CVS Caremark, Rite Aid and Supervalu, among others — have made the pertussis vaccine more readily available and bolstered their supply.