Influenza Vaccination - do pharmacy students care?
Every year, influenza causes substantial illness and occasional pandemics such as the outbreak of H1N1 influenza in 2009 and the widespread illness we are seeing this season (2012/13) 1, 2.
Influenza vaccination is the principle method of mitigating the impact of influenza-related infections, complications and deaths1, 3. Since 2009, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended influenza vaccination for all persons aged ≥6 months. Until recently, a majority of influenza vaccinations were given by nurses and physicians4, 5. In the last ten years, more than 30 states have passed legislations which allow immunization-certified pharmacists to administer influenza vaccinations to adults (>18 years of age). Nursing and medical students are allowed to administer immunizations, under supervision, but pharmacy students are not. The potential of pharmacy students to administer vaccines and barriers pharmacy students may have regarding giving vaccinations has not been fully explored. Several studies show that knowledge and attitudes of healthcare providers (HCP) have significant impact on the frequency with which vaccines are offered and accepted5-7. While vaccine coverage among licensed pharmacists is well documented, little is known about influenza vaccine coverage and predictors of vaccine acceptance among pharmacy students2-4. Understanding and addressing barriers to vaccine acceptance and delivery by pharmacy students, before they graduate, may contribute to improvements in vaccine delivery by pharmacists.