Community-based project aims to improve pneumococcal vaccination rates

April 15, 2013

Shenandoah University, RxAlly, RealCME, and Kerr Drug to collaborate under Pfizer grant

Up Front

Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy recently received a medical education grant from Pfizer that will enable faculty members to partner with community pharmacies to establish a pneumococcal vaccination program to increase immunization rates.

Participants will include RxAlly (a national network of 22,000 retail pharmacies), RealCME (an outcomes analytics company), and Raleigh, N.C.-based Kerr Drug (an RxAlly member). Pharmacy educators, immunization trainers from the American Pharmacists Association, and an accredited medical education company will also be involved. 

The program, titled, “Improving Patient Immunization Rates through Optimizing Pharmacy’s Role in Providing Immunization Services,” seeks to promote and increase pneumococcal vaccinations among adults age 65 and older, as well as among high-risk patients ranging in age from 2 to 64 who have comorbid conditions. Data from the National Health Interview Survey and the state of North Carolina for these populations show gaps in immunization rates, which the partnership is designed to address. 

The initiative has four key objectives: To work with pharmacists and pharmacy staff to increase pneumococcal immunization rates among high-risk populations; to improve pharmacists’ ability to identify candidates who should receive the vaccine; to encourage awareness of the importance of pneumococcal vaccine administration through direct patient interaction; and to increase opportunities to provide immunization-related clinical services, a prepared statement announced.

“Working with RxAlly and the ability to leverage its reach into community pharmacy will be a tremendous advantage to our faculty in contributing to the overall increase in pharmacist-delivered pneumococcal immunization rates and the corresponding improvement in public health,” said Alan McKay, PhD, the pharmacy school’s founding dean. 

Bruce Roberts, CEO of RxAlly, said, “Studies show the proven value of pharmacists in increasing immunization rates, and this [program] will continue to create awareness of how pharmacy can and does play a major role in improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs in our communities.”