Pharmacist group's CEO said vaccines crucial to public health

An American Pharmacists Association (APhA) official released a statement on Thursday, stressing the important role of childhood and booster vaccinations in the protection of individual lives and overall public health.

“In recent weeks, a renewed discussion has emerged over childhood vaccinations, their efficacy and their safety,” APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas Menighan said. “The facts are that vaccines work, and America’s pharmacists support vaccination as an important public health measure. Vaccines were created to protect the public against harmful and potentially deadly diseases. Because of vaccinations, many dangerous diseases are now preventable."

Menighan encouraged people to stay up to date on their immunizations to protect themselves and those around them from diseases preventable through vaccines.

“There are many children and adults in the U.S. who cannot receive vaccinations because of medical conditions, such as a suppressed immune system, or age limitations,” Menighan said. “By vaccinating as many people as we can, we create a ‘herd immunity’ that helps us protect others in our communities who are not able to receive these vaccines. This is how we virtually eradicated smallpox in the United States decades ago, and, until recently, greatly reduced the number of measles cases.”

When individuals decide not to receive vaccines, it weakens the entire herd’s immunity, and vulnerable patients may be exposed to possibly lethal diseases, Menighan said.

“Pharmacists are an important community source of information on vaccinations, and where authorized, vaccine administrators,” Menighan said. “They are a great resource for parents and caregivers who wish to better understand their vaccination needs and the immunization schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).”