Pharmacists and Vaccinations: A Perfect Match

Syringe surrounded by three bottles
Image Source: qimono/pixabay.com

The CDC considers vaccinations to be one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.1-3 Thanks to vaccines, the incidence, morbidity, mortality, and prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases have considerably diminished since vaccinations became available. Unfortunately, while vaccines are considered safe and effective in preventing illness, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 US adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year.4-5 In order to improve the overall vaccination rate, it’s important we utilize all our resources. Pharmacists are easily accessible and can be instrumental in providing patients with pertinent information to help them make informed choices regarding immunizations.

Why Vaccines are Important

There are two main benefits for vaccination:

  1. You can help lower your chance of getting certain disease
    • Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer.
    • HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer.
    • Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.
  2. You can lower your chance of spreading disease.
    • Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
    • Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease.

Vaccines are both effective and safe. They go through years of testing before the FDA licenses them for use. Both the CDC and FDA continue to track the safety of all licensed vaccines.6

Recommended Immunization Schedules

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the following vaccination schedules:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

How Pharmacists can Help

Pharmacists are also in a unique position to identify those patients who are in target groups for certain vaccinations. They may also be able to ease the fears of many patients by providing them with facts such as clinical data and by dispelling common misconceptions and myths about vaccinations; they can also stress the significant risks associated with not being vaccinated.7

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding vaccinations.

Sources:

  1. Oldfield BJ, Stewart RW. Common misconceptions, advancements, and updates in pediatric vaccine administration. South Med J. 2016;109(1):38-41. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000399.
  2. Ventola CL. Immunization in the United States: recommendations, barriers, and measures to improve compliance: part 2: adult vaccinations. P T. 2016;41(8):492-506.
  3. Temoka E. Becoming a vaccine champion: evidence-based interventions to address the challenges of vaccination. S D Med. 2013;(theme issue): 68-72.
  4. Bach AT, Goad JA. The role of community pharmacy-based vaccination in the USA: current practice and future directions. Integr Pharm Res Pract. 2015;4:67-77. doi: 10.2147/IPRP.S63822.
  5. Poland GA, Schaffner W, Hopkins RH Jr, US Department of Health & Human Services. Immunization guidelines in the United States: new vaccines and new recommendations for children, adolescents, and adults. Vaccine. 2013;31(42):4689-4693. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.03.031.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html
  7. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2019/january2019/adult-vaccination-rates-are-rising-but-fall-short

National Influenza Vaccination Week

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week! While flu activity can begin as early as October, it can last well into March. The CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. With this holiday approaching, it’s important to get vaccinated to help protect both you and others from the flu. Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).1

What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu
    • If you still get sick, the flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity.
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions
    • Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
  • Vaccination can help protect both children and women during/after pregnancy.

Do you have any questions regarding the flu vaccine?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/nivw/about.htm

The #1 Reason Why You Should Quit Smoking

A single cigarette surrounded by ashes
Image Source: Matthew MacQuarrie/Unsplash

According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. Outside of personal health, there are a multitude of reasons to quit smoking, you might want to quit for your family or your budget. Below are a few additional details on why you should quit and how to get started!

Quitting a pack a day can save you thousands (with an ‘s’) each year!

While you may think a cigarette or two everyday isn’t breaking the bank, those small costs can easily add up over time. www.quitnow.ca has developed a calculator so you can see an estimate of what you might end of spending if you continue smoking.

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It’s not easy, but there is help to quit!

Your health and your pocketbook will thank you

There are a variety of methods available that can assist you in quitting. Tria Health currently offers S.T.O.P. – Stop tobacco by optimizing pharmacists. S.T.O.P. provides one-on-one consultations with a clinically trained pharmacist. Your Tria pharmacists will assist you in developing a personalized quit plan that will work for you and your lifestyle. Our proven success combines medication along with behavioral therapy to improve your odds of success. Visit https://triahealth.com/Stop to learn more.

 

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/data/cigarette-smoking-in-united-states.html

Fight the Flu

‘Tis The Flu Season
Every year, 10% – 20% of Americans get sick with the flu leading to missed days at work, school and even hospitalization.  Flu seasons are unpredictable. It can begin as early as October and can last as late as May. During this fall season, protect yourself and your family from the flu by following these important tips.

Get your flu shot.
The best way to fight the flu is by getting vaccinated. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. It is especially important that seniors, pregnant women, and others with weakened immune systems or certain medical conditions outlined by the CDC get the flu shot.

Wash your hands & disinfect surfaces.
Germs are everywhere! Washing your hands and wiping down frequently touched objects and surfaces. Take time to wash your hands thoroughly by working up a good lather and scrub for at least 20 seconds then rinse with warm water. Alcohol-based sanitizer is a good alternative to hand washing.

Cover coughs & sneezes.
Germs and viruses can easily spread to surfaces and other people through the air. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

Seek medical advice when feeling sick.
There is still a small chance you can catch the flu even if you get vaccinated. Pharmacists can make recommendations on choosing optimal over-the-counter products that can help manage your symptoms. Get adequate rest and hydration.

Talk to your Tria Pharmacist or other health care provider regarding flu related questions. For information about Tria Health, visit www.triahealth.com.