By now we have all heard of the growing concerns of the anti-vaccination movement, but just how dangerous is it? The World Health Organization has deemed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top ten threats to global public health in 2019. With global vaccination rates remaining at 85%, the movement to increase immunization is strong. The target of the Global Vaccine Action Plan is to reach a rate of at least 90%. While 2-3 million deaths are prevented each year through vaccines, another 1.5 million more could be saved if coverage is increased.
Community pharmacies have a unique role that allows them to effectively contribute by informing at-risk patients of immunization opportunities. Properly educating patients is an important step to making a change and taking advantage of the close relationships you are able to build. Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation:
- Instead of pushing facts, try appealing to emotions and emphasizing the social responsibility of vaccination. It is not simply an individual choice- the overall protection of society is directly affected by the percentage of people immunized, or “herd immunity”.
- A common objection to vaccines is that the risks outweigh the benefits. However, you can remind patients that eradicated diseases are still potential threats, and they are only being held off by continued immunization. Just because a disease is not active does not mean it is not dangerous.
- Skeptics of Big Pharma believe vaccines are being pushed for financial gain. However, they take extensive time to develop and approve, and for many years had such a low margin that it was an inconvenience to provide them. A change was made, not with a focus on profit, but rather to keep an incentive for production while still providing the benefit to society.
- For patients who simply do not have the time, try working with local businesses in your area to set up immunization events. This way you can bring the service to them, expand your reach of patients, and build valuable relationships.
The ability to keep track of immunization services is conveniently integrated into PioneerRx pharmacy system.
With services such as STC Immslink, you can have point-of-care access to a patient’s medical history and alerts of any vaccination opportunities. This saves time and allows for immediate counseling while simplifying immunization reporting. Administering vaccines can be a simple, effective way to promote health in your community and grow your business.