Pharmacists’ Involvement in Vaccination, Crucial, Says Expert

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Pharmacists’ Involvement in Vaccination, Crucial, Says Expert
Vaccine supply chain chart. Image source: WHO

A Vaccine Consultant, Pharm. Abdulrahman Kelani, has charged pharmacists in Nigeria to actively get involved in immunisation supply chain and vaccine administration in the country so as to fill the noticed gaps in the system, thereby enhancing quality healthcare delivery.

Pharm. Kelani charged the pharmacists while speaking on the topic “Immunisation supply chain logistics and vaccines administration: The role of the pharmacists”, during a plenary session at the ongoing 96th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) holding in Gombe state.

The expert pointed out that immunisation supply chain is critical to ensuring the availability, accessibility, and effectiveness of vaccines,  hence, pharmacists need to take up active roles in that area of specialty.

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According to Kelani, vaccine administration encompasses the processes, systems, and resources involved in procurement, storage, distribution, and management of vaccines, stating that immunisation saves millions of lives annually; therefore a well-functioning supply chain is essential for the success of immunisation programmes in the country.

He explained that immunisation supply chain ensures that vaccines are safely transported, stored, and delivered to the right place, at the right time, and in the right condition, adding that effective supply chains help reach geographically remote areas, marginalised populations, and vulnerable communities which is a vital move to achieve universal health coverage.

According to Pharm. Kelani, immunisation supply chain and vaccine administration has various components in which pharmacists can effectively function and the components include planning, forecasting, procurement, storage, distribution, managing cold chain logistics, and managing collaboration among partners.

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He specifically said pharmacists need to play an active role in estimating vaccine needs based on agreed parameters, ensuring proper budgeting for vaccine procurement and financial planning, warehousing through the cold chain, distribution and eventual administration, proper storage and inventory management of vaccines at the National Primary Cold Store, all supply chain levels, safeguarding their integrity and quality, (Cold chain system),

Other areas the pharmacists should start functioning effectively include crucial quality control roles, cold chain management, ensuring safe vaccine delivery to healthcare facilities, handling, monitoring, transportation and distribution of potent vaccines and supplies across immunization supply chain levels

Speaking further, Pharm. Kilani said “In recent years, pharmacists in Nigeria have been authorised to administer vaccines, including routine immunisation and travel vaccines. This helps to increase access to immunisation services and improves community immunity. Pharmacists ensure the availability of essential medications, vaccines, and supplies within the healthcare system. Pharmacists work to prevent drug shortages and manage inventory efficiently”.

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This, according to him makes pharmacists readily fit and qualify to play an active role in vaccine administration. He however charged the pharmacists to get more knowledge on the new area to enable them to function effectively and efficiently.

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