Save time, stay current, and earn CE. You can rely on The Rx Consultant to deliver practical easy-reading updates on drugs & therapy for front-line pharmacists and nurses.

CE for this article is no longer valid.
Non Subscriber: Buy This Issue

Adult Immunizations

Clicking the "View this Article" button will open the issue as a resizable PDF. To take the test for the issue, return to this Introduction page and click the "Take the Test" button. The Introduction page will remain open after you open this issue. You may need to re-size or close the issue in order to see the Introduction page.


The provision of immunizations is one of the most important public health achievements of the 20th century. The modern vaccine era ushered in interventions that have eradicated or greatly reduced several life-threatening infectious diseases in the U.S., including smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles and rubella. However, despite the availability of effective vaccines for a number of common diseases, immunization rates for many vaccines remains low. For example, the vaccination rate against influenza among non-institutionalized, high risk adults (< 65 years old) was 28% in 2006; far below the 90% goal developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The vaccination rate among health care workers, last reported in 2000 at 37%, is also well below the goal of 60%. Considerable effort is needed to increase access to influenza vaccine for those at greatest risk, as well as the individuals most likely to expose high risk persons to the flu.

One approach for improving vaccination rates that has been successfully implemented over the last decade is to increase public access by providing vaccinations in pharmacies. As the most accessible health professionals in almost all communities, pharmacists are playing important roles in immunization advocacy, education, and administration. Today, every state except Maine has passed legislation authorizing pharmacists to administer immunizations. As of March 2008, an estimated 30,000 immunization-trained pharmacists in independent and chain pharmacies, clinics, and health care systems were actively involved in vaccinating their patients.

This issue provides basic information that can serve as a checklist for initiating a pharmacy-based immunization program. Recommended adult vaccines are reviewed including those commonly administered by pharmacists (influenza, pneumococcal, herpes zoster, tetanus/diptheria/pertussis, and hepatitis B). The rationale for vaccination, current indications, side effects, precautions, and administration schedules are discussed and presented in easy-to-read tables. Vaccine “myths” and questions commonly asked by patients are simply explained in the Patient Connection.


Publication Date: 02/01/2009
Expiration Date: 02/01/2012
CE Credit: 1.5 (0.15 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.


Heidemarie Windham, PharmD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacist, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA. Sharon L Youmans, PharmD, MPH, Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Associate Dean for Diversity, Vice Chair for Educational Affairs, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA.

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Windham and Dr. Youmans report no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists and nurses.

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Describe the benefits and risks of the vaccines currently recommended for adults and adolescents to a patient.
    2. Explain the primary benefits of pharmacy-based immunization
    3. services and list 3 key steps pharmacists must take to set up a service.
    4. Discuss the recommended use, dose, schedule, common side effects, and contraindications for influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, and herpes zoster vaccines.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc. Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 1.5 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Editor and CE Administrator

Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Associate Editor and CE Coordinator

Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors

James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Ron Finley, RPh
Department of Clinical Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Associate Member of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center
Alzheimer's Research Center

Consultant Pharmacist to the Institute on Aging-On Lok Senior Health
Institute on Aging Alzheimer's Day Care Center

Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Drug Information Coordinator
Stanford Hospital and Clinics
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDE, CGP, FASCP
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacotherapy
College of Pharmacy
Washington State University
Elder Services of Spokane
Spokane, WA

Candy Tsourounis, PharmD
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
Medication Outcomes Center
Department of Clinical Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Senior Editorial Advisor

Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors

Jocelyn Chan, PharmD
Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners

Emily K. Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

Contact Us

Exam Processing Inquiries

The Rx Consultant

Educational Content Inquiries

The Rx Consultant

CE for this article is no longer valid.
Non Subscriber: Buy This Issue