Advocating vaccination should be part of the daily practice of community pharmacists, says FIP editor
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has launched a new vaccination handbook for pharmacists this week, with one key message: “Make every contact count”.
The handbook details the many ways pharmacists can contribute to improving vaccination coverage—for example, supply chain and stock management, storage, record keeping, facilitation of appointments and administration of vaccines.
However FIP said it also gives emphasis to pharmacists’ important educational and advisory role.
“Advocating vaccination should be part of the daily practice of community pharmacists,” said Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, editor of the handbook and FIP’s lead for practice development and transformation.
“At this time of increasing levels of vaccine hesitancy, pharmacists should be equipped with proper training and tools to effectively communicate and provide evidence-based recommendations to populations in order to support vaccine uptake,” said Mr Sousa Pinto.
The handbook provides guidance on the implementation of a range of pharmacy vaccination services, guidelines on safety, and answers to frequently asked questions about vaccines.
“Not all of the roles described in the handbook are currently open to pharmacists in every country — for example, pharmacists’ access to vaccination records is still not mainstream practice worldwide — but with this handbook FIP aims to support the expansion and development of the roles of pharmacists in order to increase vaccination coverage across the globe,” he said.
Other recent resources in by FIP to ensure pharmacy’s contribution to the World Health Organization Immunisation Agenda 2030 and the Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011–2020 include a collection of evidence and guidelines for the development of vaccination services, a report on the roles of pharmacy in vaccination, and a regulatory self-evaluation assessment tool for advancing pharmacy services in this area.
The launch of the new FIP handbook was welcomed by Professor Lisa Nissen, an expert in pharmacist-led vaccination and workforce development and head of the School of Clinical Sciences at the Queensland University of Technology.
“Globally, the burden of infectious disease on the wider community is still enormous. Vaccines play a critical role as one of the key health interventions in preventive care. This has been no more apparent than during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prof Nissen.
“Pharmacists, as key members of the healthcare team with medicines expertise, have a critical role to play in vaccination and vaccine management, and, importantly, in allowing vaccination services to be delivered locally where people live and work.
“According to the WHO, there are currently 28 infectious diseases that can be effectively prevented by a vaccine. This handbook supports pharmacists to deliver vaccination services which will help save millions of lives.”