Vaccines are one of the greatest inventions of all time, responsible for preventing over 2.5 million deaths every year. The first noted use of vaccines is recorded in 10th century China, but it was during the 18th century that they were given serious attention after English doctor Edward Jenner successfully developed an inoculation for smallpox. Within 100 years a range of vaccinations for multiple diseases was available, and have been monumental in saving lives around the globe. For example, between 2000 and 2008, global measles deaths dropped by 78 percent, with higher rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 92 percent decrease. Currently, worldwide efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other institutions are aiming at eradication of several debilitating diseases.
Today, many vaccinations are available at your local pharmacy. Therefore, the question becomes whether or not it?s a good idea to get your immunizations there rather than at a medical clinic or doctor?s office.
Pharmacists are highly trusted health care professionals who play an important role in our overall health. In the past twenty years, the practice of pharmacists administering vaccinations has become more common and accessible, with advancements in the types of vaccines, and changes in the age limits of vaccinable patients. Currently, pharmacists have authority to give vaccines in all 50 states, although there are slight variations in regulation from state to state. Pharmacists are trained to administer vaccines, especially in oral or injectable form.
Many of us know that our local pharmacy, whether a chain store or independent pharmacy, offer flu shots. However, they also administer other vaccines approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, polio, shingles, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), and varicella (chickenpox). In addition, travel immunizations for meningitis, typhoid, yellow fever, and malaria are also available in many pharmacies. There is no need for a prescription.
Many pharmacies do not require you to make an appointment, offering walk-in clinics and open hours. You will have to sign a consent form and fill out insurance paperwork, but other than that it is basically hassle-free to get your immunizations at a pharmacy.
Along with vaccines, prescriptions and over the counter medicine, pharmacies offer advice to physicians about different medications, their side effects and interactivity. In addition, they collaborate with nutritionists, dieticians, and other health professionals to create treatment plans. Another important service that pharmacists provide is to counsel patients and customers on their health routines. Overall, pharmacists must be friendly and have a sincere desire to help others, as well as good communication skills. Most important, though, is a conscientious and thorough attention to detail.
Try your local pharmacy for everyday purchases, medical advice, prescriptions, and vaccinations.
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