Mercer Pharmacy Now Providing Immunization Training to Practicing Pharmacists

September 20, 2012

Media Contact: David N. Hefner, (678) 547-6244 or hefner_dn@mercer.edu

ATLANTA – Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is now providing quarterly pharmacy-based immunization training for area pharmacists. The training could be particularly significant for independent pharmacists in Georgia who lack the required certification necessary to administer vaccinations to adult and adolescent patients.

Over the last decade, pharmacies across the country have developed active immunization programs, particularly administering vaccinations for influenza and adult shingles. In fact, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that nearly 20 percent of Americans received flu shots from community pharmacists in a retail setting.

However, many children and adults in Georgia are “under-immunized” against Hepatitis B, influenza and pneumococcal disease, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Experts in a 2008 study in Pediatrics suggest that pharmacies play a pivotal role in vaccination efforts because they are accessible, provide extended hours on evenings and weekends, and are a particularly important source of health care in rural communities.        

Mercer’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has previously offered immunization training only to its fourth-year pharmacy students but was recently approved by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to expand the training to practicing pharmacists. The APhA is the national organization that grants immunization certification to pharmacists. The training program provides pharmacists with the skills necessary to become a primary source for vaccine information and administration.
  
“Prevention of disease is one of the cornerstones of pharmaceutical care,” said Ashish Advani, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor at Mercer and coordinator of the immunization training program. “We are pleased that Mercer is now a vehicle to allow more pharmacists the ability to provide life-saving vaccinations to their patients.”

The day-long quarterly training sessions are scheduled Saturdays on Oct. 27, 2012, and Jan. 19, March 9, and July 7 of 2013. The registration fee is $395 for Mercer Pharmacy alumni and $495 for non-alumni. Upon completion of the program, participants receive 20 hours of continuing pharmacy education credit and a certificate of achievement from APhA.

To register, click here or visit www.cophs.mercer.edu and click on “APhA Immunization Certification for Pharmacists.” For more information, contact Dr. Advani at Advani_AA@Mercer.edu or call 678.547.6223.   
 
About the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is ranked No. 4 among pharmacy programs at private institutions in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.), pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.), and physical therapy (DPT), and the master’s degree (M.M.Sc.) for physician assistants. Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. The College officially became a comprehensive College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2006, adding the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in 2006 and the Department of Physical Therapy in 2010. With an enrollment of more than 750 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College houses five centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College’s motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, please call 678.547.6244 or visit www.cophs.mercer.edu.

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