ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With drug chains now in full rollout mode for H1N1 immunizations, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores trumpeted community pharmacy’s role as a vaccine provider in a letter this week to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The letter to Sebelius, from NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson, explains the role and value of pharmacy as a go-to source of vaccination administration.
It comes during National Influenza Vaccination Week, an effort by HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with health care providers to educate, encourage and engage Americans on the importance of vaccinating against the H1N1 and seasonal flu viruses.
"With over 80,000 pharmacist-vaccinators in pharmacy settings and walk-in clinics in all 50 states — within five miles of the average American — pharmacy is truly the face of neighborhood health care and vaccination services," Anderson said in a statement. "NACDS and our member companies have done a tremendous job highlighting pharmacy as a critical provider of vaccinations and have worked to demonstrate pharmacy’s ability to quickly respond and react during a national health care pandemic.”
The two-page letter described NACDS’ work with federal, state and local government entities and allied health organizations, such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), on flu preparedness, prevention and response, the association said. In addition, the letter highlighted NACDS’ direct engagement with the CDC on the H1N1 vaccine and supplies supplemental distribution pathway as well as the association’s media outreach that raises public awareness of the importance of H1N1 vaccinations.
"NACDS will continue to work with you and your agencies on National Influenza
Vaccination Week to further demonstrate the role and value of pharmacy as a primary
source of vaccinations during influenza season and in emergency pandemic planning and
preparation," Anderson wrote in the letter.
More information on activities for National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs January 10 to 16, can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/NIVW/index.htm.
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