Opinion: Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy on Vaccination by Certified Pharmacists
Bratislava, 26 April 2023: The unexpected removal of provisions enabling Slovak public pharmacies to offer vaccinations as part of pharmaceutical care from the Act on Medicines and Medical Devices led to a lively discussion in the professional community of the Slovak pharmacists. From the very beginning, the Faculty of Pharmacy of Comenius University Bratislava was involved in the discussions and the development of a training programme for pharmacists who would offer vaccinations in pharmacies. I personally view the deletion of this useful and well-prepared provision with surprise.
By: CU External Relations Office
Every year, influenza leads to 4-50 million symptomatic cases in the EU/EEA, and 15,000 - 70,000 European citizens die from influenza-related causes each year. In addition to the medical implications, this data suggests growing social and economic costs for the world and emphasises the importance of influenza prevention ahead of seasonal epidemics. Annual flu vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the disease.
In recent years, many European countries have introduced legislative changes to expand the role of public pharmacies, realising that vaccinations in pharmacies can help reduce the pressure on other parts of the health care system. According to a 2020 survey by the International Pharmaceutical Federation, public pharmacies in various parts of the world offered many types of vaccinations. In addition to the most common flu shots they offered vaccinations against several types of hepatitis, DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), meningitis, as well as various travel vaccines.
The Slovak project intended to allow certified pharmacists to offer healthy adults influenza vaccination is a unique example of interdisciplinary cooperation between general practitioners and pharmacists. The goal of this interaction between health professions is to improve the health of Slovak citizens by increasing the availability of vaccinations. It would inevitably lead to the beneficial outcome of increased vaccination rate among the adult population, as well as increased awareness of the benefits of vaccination in a critical proportion of Slovakia's citizens, while reducing the rate of morbidity and saving the costs of the seasonal occurrence of influenza.
In our professional circles, we will listen carefully to the justifications of this unexpected change. We are prepared to repeatedly present all the arguments supporting our opinion that vaccination provided by trained certified pharmacists is the right thing to do, and to offer professional assistance in promoting this modern concept of influenza prevention in the Slovak Republic.
Professor PharmDr. Ján Klimas, PhD., MPH, Faculty Dean