Did you know pharmacists in all 50 states of the United States of America have the ability to administer vaccines? Depending on the state, however, there may be some limitations based on patient age or type of vaccines available to be administered. For example, in Connecticut, where I practice, we are limited to patients 18 years and older, but we are able to provide most vaccines recommended for anyone,18 and older, without a prescription from a health care professional.
There are vaccines available to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases. Currently, immunizations prevent 2 to 3 million deaths per year worldwide. Smallpox, Measles, Rubella, and Polio have all been virtually eliminated in the USA due to proper immunization protocols.
This year will be an important year for vaccinations. Due to the COVID pandemic, the healthcare system has been stretched and extending at times beyond its means. Making sure we are all up to date on our immunizations will help not only yourself but also your loved ones. Getting vaccinated for the preventable diseases Tetanus, Pneumonia, Shingles, and especially the Flu, can help prevent the transmission of these diseases. Doing anything we can to prevent the transmission of these diseases will dramatically reduce the burden on our current healthcare system. Preventing any of these diseases can decrease hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and even save personal protective equipment (PPE) for our healthcare providers for those patients who need help.
Over the next couple of months, I will be discussing some of these vaccine-preventable diseases in more detail. I will review signs and symptoms, vaccine accessibility, and recommended adult vaccine schedules to help you protect your self and your loved ones.