In addition to the annual appearance of the pumpkin spice latte, October is American Pharmacists Month – a time to recognize the significant contributions our pharmacists make to healthcare. Conveniently enough, this is also when many people visit their pharmacies for their annual flu vaccine. But did you know you can visit your pharmacists for many (if not all) of the vaccines you need?
“We all know how important vaccines are for infants and children, but we tend to forget about protecting ourselves,” said Immunize Nevada Executive Director Heidi Parker. “Every year thousands of adults get sick because they didn’t get vaccinated. Some end up in the hospital and some die. It’s critical that people understand what they can do to protect their health.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
The specific vaccines you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, job, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel, and vaccines you've received in the past. Throughout your adult life, vaccines are recommended to get and maintain protection against:
• Seasonal influenza (flu) (for all adults)
• Pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine and for women during each pregnancy)
• Tetanus and diphtheria (every 10 years following Tdap vaccine)
• Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
• Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 who have specific health conditions)
Pharmacists can access vaccine records through Nevada WebIZ and they have most vaccines available on-site. Dr. Melissa Shake is the Pharmacy Manager/Immunizations Trainer for Walgreens and she also sits on the board of directors for Immunize Nevada. “It’s very convenient to get your vaccines at the pharmacy, as you don’t have to have an appointment and your pharmacy accepts most insurance cards. In some instances, it’s less expensive since you don’t have to pay for an appointment,” Shake said. “Start with your pharmacist, ask them your questions and get your vaccines. Then they’ll refer you to your doctor if it’s necessary.”
Shake says many patients will start a vaccine series, like HPV, at their doctors and then finish it with their pharmacist.
“Pharmacies make this so easy,” Parker said. “When you stop by your local pharmacy for your flu shot, ask them what other vaccines you need. Then get them, right there and then.”
While you’re there, wish them a Happy American Pharmacists Month. We’re sure they’ll appreciate the extra love!