In the United States, approximately 50,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. The immunization shortfall has multiple causes, but health experts agree that leveraging “non-traditional sites of vaccination delivery” can help overcome barriers to care. Retail pharmacies play an important role in this effort. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of vaccinations dispensed by community pharmacies rose from 3.2 million to 20.9 million.
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Retail clinics satisfy the need for convenient, quality healthcare. The number of retail clinics is quickly growing in the United States. The first one opened in Minnesota in 2000. Now more than 2,100 clinics are open as of the beginning of 2015 with more than 2,700 clinics projected to be open by 2019.
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Vaccines can prevent many life threatening diseases. Pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can administer immunizations in many places, including local pharmacies and retail clinics. Vaccines are generally very safe and can help eradicate some diseases. For instance, polio once caused paralysis and even death. Due to the administration of the injectable polio vaccine, there are now no reports of confirmed polio in the United States.
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Flu season is upon us, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself. Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is an acute viral infection caused by an influenza virus. Common symptoms include muscle and joint pain, high fever, sore throat and runny nose. The flu affects between 5 and 20 percent of Americans each year. Approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu-related symptoms, and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes.
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Flu? Ebola? Enterovirus 68? The fall of 2014 is presenting unique challenges to Americans everywhere as people try to determine if they have a cold, the flu, or even the first symptoms of Ebola. Scheduling time to discuss this with a healthcare professional will help to determine what exactly a person is at risk for, what prevention methods are recommended, diagnosis of the disease based on symptoms, what treatment to use, and even development of a plan to keep you, friends, and family healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get an annual flu shot1. People at high-risk, such as those with heart conditions, diabetes, and asthma, as well as pregnant women and people over the age of 65 need to get their annual flu shot to potentially avoid getting seriously ill from complications of influenza. For more information on the flu vaccine, click here.
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