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ASTHO releases guidance regarding H1N1


ARLINGTON, Va. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials last week released new guidance titled "An Operational Framework for Partnering with Pharmacies for the Administration of 2009 H1N1 Vaccine."

“We are talking about agencies that are stretched to their limits under normal circumstances,” stated ASTHO executive director Paul Jarris. “Bringing pharmacies into prevention efforts will help take some pressure off state health agencies and traditional healthcare providers. This new guidance will streamline logistics so our focus can be on the most important issue at hand, protecting the public’s health.”

As the country prepares for what will be the largest vaccine push in history, public health officials are thinking of creative ways to maximize workforce and resources to protect their communities, the Association stated.

Many pharmacies already function as seasonal influenza immunization sites, the Association noted. Since the H1N1 vaccine is federally purchased and provided, its distribution and administration must be supervised by state and local health agencies. Recognizing that state health agencies already interact with hospitals and healthcare facilities, ASTHO organized a unique collaborative to create a plan for an effective H1N1 vaccine distribution partnership.

ASTHO consulted with the following organizations to create the guidance: American Pharmacists Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Community Pharmacists Association, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Medical Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security and Rx Response.

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