School has started, and the air is getting chilly. In the pharmacy world, that means it is flu shot time! While pharmacy has been in immunization mode with COVID-19 for the past couple of years, this is a great time to review your policies and procedures for providing vaccines. The public health emergency declaration is still in effect, meaning there are fewer restrictions on who can provide immunizations. Over the past year, some states have updated laws to reflect opportunities provided to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the immunization and testing space. Reviewing the rules in your practice state is vital to ensure compliance.
Here are some tips to get the season off to a good start:
· Conduct a brief review of your current immunization process from start to finish. Look at opportunities for improvement or streamlining your processes. Improvements could be as easy as having documents printed and ready, pre-printing labels with vaccine names, or scheduling appointments. Remember to include employees in the review, as they may have suggestions.
· Inspect the space where immunizations are given. Is it fully stocked with supplies? Is it clean, orderly, and private? Keep in mind this is a clinical space that should be disinfected regularly and between patients.
· Train everyone in the pharmacy on the process and any changes you have made. Once training is complete, document the topic and names of those who were trained.
· Print a copy of the CDC adult immunization schedule and the CDC’s list of recommended vaccines for international travel. This information should be available for a quick review by the pharmacist to determine appropriate vaccines for the patient. Update any changes to vaccine schedules immediately upon release.
· Print the FDA’s list of vaccines with emergency use authorizations as they existed on March 31. If changes are made to the list or process, technicians will have a clear list of which products they can continue to administer.
· While prepping for the immunization, ensure the syringes are labeled, and patient counseling is provided before administration. This way, you can verify that you have the correct patient and product.
· Maintain sharps containers and replace them as recommended. Be sure to keep them out of the reach of children.
To learn more about other pharmacy issues and what you can do to protect yourself and your business, visit the Risk Management Center (RMC). The RMC is available at no cost to Pharmacists Mutual’s commercial insurance customers at www.phmic.com. Click “My Accounts” in the upper right corner to access or enroll.