The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently launched an initiative specifically aimed at pharmacists to improve immunization rates among healthcare workers for the seasonal flu. The Web site, called You Can Stop The Flu, is an online resource center that provides tools and materials for encouraging caregivers to get a flu shot.
Each year the seasonal flu kills approximately 36,000 people and causes 226,000 hospitalizations in the United States. Additionally, healthcare workers have been vaccinated at low rates (between 36% and 42 % of staff members). The Web site, developed with the help of a panel of pharmacist immunization experts, hopes to encourage pharmacists to lead a campaign for fighting the flu at their own facilities, according to ASHP officials. They are uniquely qualified to do so mainly because of misconceptions surrounding the flu vaccine. Pharmacists can educate fellow healthcare workers about the safety of the vaccine
On the You Can Stop the Flu Web site is a resource center with references and links to helpful flu prevention materials, an immunization campaign toolkit with ready-made tools and templates to help users launch an initiative at their own facilities, and space to share success stories, like how a pharmacist might have helped his or her facility increase its healthcare provider immunization rate. Users can even download a customizable “immunization goal thermometer” to involve fellow staff members at an organization.
As part of this initiative, ASHP will award two grants to researchers demonstrating how a pharmacist’s role can be been focused on flu prevention by promoting immunization. Nominations have been accepted since October 1, and will be through April 16. 2010. Applications can be found through the ASHP Foundation, ASHP’s education and research arm.