The Safety Implications of Pharmacists Giving Vaccines – The Vaccine Reaction
The pressure to work faster has led to increases in prescription drug errors. In an investigation led by The Chicago Tribune in 2016, half of the 255 pharmacies tested in the Chicago area failed to warn prescription users for potential drug interactions that could be harmful or fatal.4 5 The investigation found that pharmacists frequently hurry through legally required drug safety reviews, omit them altogether and/or and fail to ask patients whether they are taking other medications.4 In fact, pharmacists are required to work at such a high speed that many have complained they are hesitant to drink liquids during their shift because they do not have the time for a bathroom break.4
Initially states in the U.S. only authorized pharmacists to administer the influenza vaccine. However, today nearly every state allows pharmacists to administer almost all vaccines.6 Given what is already known about corporate quotas and their effect on medication dispensing speed and prescription drug errors, there is legitimate reason to be concerned about the safety of vaccine delivery by pharmacists. Although pharmacists are required to assess and screen patients for contraindications and take precautions before administering a vaccine,7 this is unlikely to occur given the time constraints and quota requirements, all of which creates a potentially dangerous situation for children and adults getting their vaccines in pharmacies.
This leads to another question: Are most pharmacists monitoring and reporting serious reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that follow vaccinations they administer to people to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)? Are they keeping patients in the drug store long enough to monitor for anaphylaxis or syncope (fainting)? Since pharmacists are now administering a substantial portion of vaccines, they do have the responsibility of reporting vaccine adverse events to VAERS, but is this actually occurring given that they are working at high speeds to meet their quotas?