Pharmacists are in a unique position to positively reinforce the need for vaccine therapy, Dr. David Kimberlin of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) told second-year pharmacy students of Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy.
“Families want to know what you as the expert think they should do,” Dr. Kimberlin told the students. He stressed that pharmacists are having a positive impact. “You are front-line. Pharmacists are and will have an increased role in patient wellness.”
Kimberlin is Co-Director of the UAB Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. He is associate editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics Report of the Committee of Infectious Diseases.
Kimberlin feels pharmacists have a social responsibility to ensure that children receive recommended vaccines. Parents who elect to withhold recommended vaccines from their children place not only their children at increased risk of a fatal infection, but other children and adults as well, he said.
“We are in a global world (in which) a potentially fatal disease is 18 hours away from landing at the Birmingham International Airport,” he said. “This is a message we have to convey.”
Polio and other devastating infectious diseases have been essentially eradicated thanks to vaccine therapy, Kimberlin noted. He said society “cannot fall asleep at the wheel” on this issue.
“Vaccines save hundreds of thousands of lives each year,” Kimberlin told the students. He recommended that future pharmacists and current healthcare providers “speak plainly, directly and passionately about vaccine safety and emphasizing the need to vaccinate each and every child.”