Flu season in the United States begins in October and can last all the way through May. During this time, the flu virus circulates at elevated levels among the population. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way for people to reduce their chances of catching the flu and spreading it to others.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get their flu vaccination soon after the vaccine becomes available.1
Accordingly, it’s already time for pharmacies to begin preparing for the 2015-2016 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual influenza vaccination for all adults for the upcoming 2015-2016 flu season.1
Here are three tips for pharmacies to prepare now for the 2015-2016 flu season:
1. Differentiate Your Pharmacy
Many pharmacies now offer flu shots during flu season, but there are ways to make your pharmacy stand out and attract more customers.
One way is to offer the latest jet injection technology to deliver flu shots. Vaccinations have been delivered via needle and syringe since the middle of the 19th century2 and today, new technology offers a safe, cost-effective alternative to needle-delivered injections. Having the most modern injection technology can give a pharmacy an advantage over competitors and can drive additional traffic to the location. Take PharmaJet’s Needle-Free Jet Injector for example. PharmaJet’s needle-free delivery system allows pharmacies to utilize technology that protects both health care providers and patients thanks to an auto-disabling syringe and the elimination of needle reuse.3
Another way to differentiate your pharmacy is to host flu shot events to attract people to come in and get their flu shot. These events are great opportunities to showcase your pharmacy’s technology and encourage your community to get vaccinated.
2. Take Steps to Make Your Pharmacy Safer
A needle-free pharmacy is a safer environment for your patients and staff. By eliminating needles, pharmacies can better protect caregivers and patients by extinguishing any possibility of needlestick injury, cross-contamination or needle reuse.3
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), up to 800,000 needlestick injuries occur every year in the U.S. alone.4 Each needlestick injury and resulting treatment process costs approximately $3,000, totaling $3 billion spent annually in the U.S. on needlestick injuries.4 Needlestick injuries happen during the injection process on patients (41 percent), after needle use and before needle disposal (40 percent) and during or after disposal (15 percent).4 People who experience a needlestick injury are exposed to over 20 different blood borne pathogens, including HIV and hepatitis C virus.4 Removing needles from injection delivery eliminates these potential issues and improves the patient experience.4 By reducing the amount of needles used, pharmacies can protect their employees as well as their patients from needle-related injuries.
Another step you can take to make your pharmacy safer is to offer continuing education on safe immunization practices. Your pharmacy’s caregivers should devote time to taking immunization courses to learn and train for today’s most critical health care topics. Immunization courses are offered by the CDC in a variety of formats, including online webcasts, and provide essential information for health care personnel.5 Keeping your vaccine training programs up to date will ensure that your pharmacists are fully prepared and trained to treat patients.
It’s also important that your pharmacy have an established policy for sick days. A clear sick day policy for pharmacists allows them to look after their own health and well being, which in turn makes your pharmacy a healthier place for patients. Your pharmacists’ health should be just as important as the health of your patients!
3. Find a Needle-Free Flu Vaccine Option to Offer
Many people have an intense aversion to receiving a vaccine that is administered with a needle and syringe. Needle phobia, a recognized medical condition, affects 20-23 percent of all adults, and this fear can be severe enough for people to avoid getting vaccinations altogether.6
The PharmaJet Needle-Free Injector was the first to be approved by the FDA to administer an influenza vaccine.3 In the 2014-2015 flu season, patients reported a preference for PharmaJet Needle-Free flu shots. In fact, when surveyed 93 percent of patients who received their flu shot with PhamaJet’s Needle-Free Injector reported that they would chose the PharmaJet’s injector again. 7And it wasn’t only consumers who preferred PharmaJet after experiencing it: 87 percent of health care providers who used PharmaJet’s jet injector indicated that they would choose to use it to deliver needle-free flu shots again in the future.8
Along with offering patients an alternative to needles, eliminating needles reduces the costs associated with delivering injections by reducing sharps disposal costs as well as fees associated with needlestick insurance and injury treatment.3
These tips are just a few ways that your pharmacy can begin to prepare now for the 2015-2016 flu season. Pharmacies need to plan well in advance to be ready to treat and educate patients on influenza risks and the best ways to stay well. Every flu season varies and influenza can affect people differently.
If you’re ready to take the next step to differentiate your pharmacy, make it safer and offer a new innovative needle-free delivery option for the 2015-2016 flu season, contact a PharmaJet sales rep today at www.pharmajet.com/contact/.
- “Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” CDC.gov. Web.
- “Hypodermic Needle – Syringe Needle.” About.com Inventors. Web.
- “Afluria Influenza Vaccine is FDA Approved for use with the PharmaJet Stratis Needle-Free Injector.” Pharmajet.com. Web.
- “Needle-Free Technology.” PharmaJet.com. Web.
- “Vaccines and Immunizations: Immunization Courses.” CDC.gov. Web.
- “The Needle Phobia Page.” Needlephobia.com. Web.
- “Internal Company Report #61-10201 Post Market Surveillance.” PharmaJet, Inc., Feb. 2015.
- “Internal Company Report #61-10194 Post Market Surveillance – HealthCare Providers.” PharmaJet, Inc., Feb. 2015.