Monday, April 22, 2024

The importance of pharmacists in RSV vaccination: Collaborative clinical decision making and education

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Pharmacists are crucial in the decision-making process for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccination and in educating patients about its importance, especially among older adults and specific target groups. According to Richard Dang, PharmD, APh, BCACP, FCPhA, shared decision-making with patients is essential for RSV vaccination, aligning with CDC guidelines for risk assessment, patient preferences, healthcare provider discretion, and vaccine characteristics.

Dang highlighted the eagerness of pediatricians and obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) to partner with pharmacies in vaccinating pregnant women and offering monoclonal antibodies. Challenges arise due to pharmacists’ differing views on shared clinical decision-making, which can hinder partnerships with medical providers advocating for this approach.

Keri Hurley-Kim, PharmD, MPH, BCACP, APh, also emphasized the importance of collaboration in navigating uncertainties surrounding RSV vaccination and shared clinical decision-making. Many OBGYN practices refer patients to pharmacies for RSV vaccination since pharmacies are preferred by older adults for vaccination services.

To address challenges, Dang suggested creating referral systems with local clinics to ensure patients receive the necessary vaccinations. The ACIP guidelines recommend shared clinical decision-making for RSV vaccination in adults aged 60 and older, pregnant women, and infants, with specific vaccine schedules tailored to each group.

RSV poses significant risks to vulnerable populations, such as young children and the elderly, underscoring the importance of preventive measures like vaccination. The focus on RSV prevention is crucial, given its impact on public health comparable to the flu.

In conclusion, collaboration between pharmacists, medical providers, and clinics is key to ensuring widespread RSV vaccination access and improving patient outcomes in vulnerable groups.

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