The dramatic expansion in the number of pharmacists who can give vaccinations and the range of vaccinations they can deliver has occurred just as an epidemic of whooping cough has spread across the country.
Reflecting the value of community pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is answering the call of public health authorities to promote vaccinations in the battle against whooping cough, also known as pertussis.
Following regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, GlaxoSmithKline confirmed it has begun shipping the first lots of its 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccines to healthcare providers and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distribution centers.
MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores in 25 states and the District of Columbia, is gearing up for the back-to-school season by reminding parents that it is a one-stop location where students can get their required vaccinations and sports and college physicals as four states issue new immunization mandates.
Physicians' offices already have enough on their plate that a wave of new appointments for pertussis vaccinations would overwhelm them. For that reason, it's essential that pharmacists and retail clinicians step in to ensure that kids, and especially adults, get vaccinated against the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday held a press briefing regarding the growing number of whooping cough cases in Washington state, which, according to the CDC, is reflective of how pertussis cases are trending nationally.
Stopping a viral pandemic of any kind presents a major challenge that historically has often taken decades or even centuries, as occurred in the cases of polio and smallpox. But stopping or even slowing a pandemic is made all the more difficult when people who carry the virus face stigma and ignorance from their families, communities and governments.
After it was first identified as the cause of AIDS in 1983, being diagnosed with an HIV infection was a literal death sentence, and it remains that way for many people in poor countries who lack access to the life-saving medications that have transformed HIV from a sure ticket to death into a chronic illness.