April 23, 2015 - One of the most exciting things that I came away from the 2015 Preparedness Summit with was a renewed excitement that there is recognition of the professional skills of pharmacists and how they can complement and enhance public health – not only in daily goals, but also in extreme events such as a pandemic outbreak or bioterror response.
In fact, there were several times that I couldn’t attend a session I wanted to because of a conflict. So, let’s look at where we are, how we in the intersection of public health and pharmacy are continuing to move together, and how that was presented at the summit this year:
This is such a tremendous change from the time during H1N1 where I was one of the pharmacists in a room who was asked, “would you be able to follow the priority groups for vaccination and turn down one of your regular customers who wanted a vaccine?” Now, those same public health partners are actively seeking ways to ensure that pharmacies are brought into the planning process and response capabilities for the future. The trust and partnership that has been building since the 2009-2010 H1N1 Pandemic between public health and pharmacy is starting to show real results – so much so, that pharmacies provided 25% of adult flu shots in the early part of the 2014-2015 flu season (the most recent data that is available from the CDC). There is still a lot of work that remains, but these are exciting times for preparedness!