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Rite Aid Training More Pharmacists To Give Immunizations

pharmacistsRite Aid is expanding its immunizing pharmacist program with plans to triple its number of pharmacists who can administer vaccines by the beginning of the 2010-11 flu season, a move pharmacy leaders say will help pharmacists develop closer relationships with their patients. The company will focus on training pharmacists in top markets this year and plans to train pharmacists in all remaining markets next year.

“Providing clinical pharmacy services such as immunizations is the future of pharmacy,” says Dan Miller, senior vice president of pharmacy operations. “Expanding our immunizing pharmacist program is an important first step in realizing our vision to provide additional clinical services throughout our chain such as drug therapy compliance, medication therapy management and specialized disease-state management consultations.”

Miller says Rite Aid had a “very successful” year with immunizations – the company administered more flu shots than ever before during the 2009-10 flu season. Rite Aid also launched a successful Zostavax campaign in January that helped more seniors receive shingles immunizations.

“We promoted the campaign in our weekly circulars and really got the word out that patients can visit our stores to receive shingles vaccinations,” Miller says. “It laid the groundwork for how we are planning to promote flu vaccinations during the coming season. We’ve ordered a significant increase in flu doses, and we’re committed to making it a banner year for immunizations at Rite Aid.”

That banner year begins with recruiting as many pharmacists as possible in top markets to complete fully-funded immunization training, which begins in April.

Adult immunization rates in the U.S. remain poor and thousands die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, Miller adds, “which gives us an opportunity to help our patients by offering these services at a convenient and accessible location.”