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Start your immunization practice here.
With immunizations gaining attention for their potential to become a new profit center for pharmacies, a pharmacist educator urged colleagues to make sure they’re up to date on the latest vaccination recommendations and new immunization devices.
Get “The Pink Book”
The first step is to get a copy of the new 13th edition of the CDC textbook Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, better known as “The Pink Book,” said Miranda Wilhelm, PharmD, clinical associate professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy, who spoke to the McKesson ideaShare conference in San Diego.
“‘The Pink Book’ is a great place to start for any immunization practice. They finally gave us a new edition,” Wilhelm said. “I definitely recommend you have one at your practice. Download the latest copy, if you haven’t already.”
Wilhelm also pointed out several recent developments:
• The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued new recommendations regarding the typhoid and HPV vaccines this year. According to the panel, the typhoid vaccine is recommended for travelers to specific countries, people in close contact with chronic typhoid carriers, and certain lab workers. In addition, a 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) is now available and FDA-approved. It is among those recommended for routine use in boys and girls 11-12 years of age, and it is indicated for girls and women between the ages of nine and 26 and for boys between the ages of nine and 15.
• Last year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended FluMist, when available, over the influenza shot for healthy children between the ages of two and eight.
• While newly approved, meningococcal Group B vaccines Trumenba and Bexsero are not recommended for routine use.
• The FDA has approved PharmaJet Stratis, a needle-free immunization injector, for use with the Afluria influenza vaccine. (Wilhelm disclosed that she received a grant from PharmaJet as a student and is on the speaker’s bureau for Merck Vaccines.)
The injector is now approved and available for use, although research has suggested there is a higher risk of injection-site reactions than there is for needle and syringe. On the other hand, “there’s no chance of a needle stick,” Wilhelm says. “You never have to worry about HIV or any of that stuff.”