Pharmacy’s value in life-course vaccination

 The importance of a life-course approach to vaccination and the potential of pharmacists to contribute to this is described in a new Statement of Policy from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) released today.

A life-course immunisation approach recognises that health is shaped by a series of events that occur throughout life, including vaccinations known to benefit specific age groups and vulnerable groups,” said Mr Luís Lourenço, FIP professional secretary and co-chair of the FIP policy committee that developed the statement.

The new statement calls for the expansion of vaccination schedules and strategies to ensure access to vaccines for all age groups beyond infancy. “Vaccine-preventable diseases are a significant cause of morbidity, including loss of functional ability, and mortality in older people because a gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by increased age makes them more susceptible to infections,” Mr Lourenço explained.

As such, FIP says that pharmacists should be integrated into immunisation pathways for older people as well as those for other special-risk groups, such as people with long-term conditions, pregnant individuals, healthcare professionals, underserved populations and caregivers. In addition, the policy statement emphasises the value of pharmacists in building vaccine confidence and addressing vaccine hesitancy.

“One of the key levers for increasing vaccination rates across all ages is to increase convenience of access, to which pharmacy can clearly contribute,” Mr Lourenço said.

In order to facilitate the contribution of pharmacists to life-course vaccination, the policy statement sets out recommendations for different stakeholders, including governments and policymakers, FIP member organisations, practitioners and providers of pharmacy education. These include that governments and policymakers should remove regulatory barriers to enable pharmacists to prescribe and administer all relevant vaccines throughout the life-course. It also recommends that policymakers develop remuneration models for pharmacies to deliver sustainable life-course vaccination services within the private and public sectors.

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