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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2006 Mar-Apr;46(2):168-79; quiz 179-82.

Pharmacist involvement with immunizations: a decade of professional advancement.

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McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash DC). 2006 May-Jun;46(3):308.



To review achievements in pharmacist-administered immunizations, emphasizing the period 1995 to 2004.


Published articles identified through PubMed (1995-2004) using the search terms pharmacist, pharmacy, and vaccine, immunization, or shots. Additional sources were identified from personal bibliographies collected by the authors during this decade, as well as the bibliographies of the retrieved articles. The later two sources resulted in manuscripts of primarily historical significance.


More than 300 manuscripts were identified. The authors selected 15 studies that most clearly document the effect of pharmacist-administered immunizations for review.


By the authors.


While pharmacists have been involved with vaccines dating back to the mid-1800s and the distribution of smallpox vaccine, only 10 years have passed since pharmacists began routinely immunizing patients in their communities as a standard practice activity. The Washington State Pharmacists Association initiated the first ongoing formalized training of pharmacists in vaccine administration in 1994. On November 1, 1996, the American Pharmaceutical (now Pharmacists) Association (APhA) began its nationally recognized training program for pharmacists, Pharmacy-Based Immunization DELIVERY: A National Certificate Program for Pharmacists. By 2004, an estimated 15,000 pharmacists and student pharmacists had been formally trained through recognized programs as vaccine experts, and the practice of pharmacist-administered immunizations, particularly for adult patients, has become routinely accepted as an important role of the pharmacist. Arguably, few initiatives have done more to move the pharmacy profession forward in direct patient care than the pharmacist-administered immunization movement.


Pharmacists have made significant strides in immunizations over the past decade. Limited activities in the hospital sector have been particularly well documented, as have the perceptions of patients regarding acceptance of pharmacists as immunizers. The activities of community pharmacists are less well documented. More research is needed into novel approaches to pharmacist involvement in public health-focused immunization initiatives, along with continued research evaluating the current practice of pharmacist-administered immunizations.

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