Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating an Immunization Certificate Program into the Pharmacy Curriculum

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating an Immunization Certificate Program into the Pharmacy Curriculum

Article excerpt


On July 1, 2006, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania updated the pharmacy scope of practice to give authority to pharmacists to administer injectable medications, bio logics, and vaccines to adults. (1) At the time of the change in the practice act, Pennsylvania was one of 44 states allowing pharmacists to administer immunizations. (2) Registered pharmacists must apply for a license to administer injectable medications. The Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy voted on September 20, 2006, to approve the APhA's Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certificate training program as the credential necessary for licensure. The application process involves completing an application form, providing proof of cardiovascular and pulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR), and submitting an application fee.

In 2005, Wilkes University contracted with APhA to become a licensed provider of the APhA Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program. Six faculty members from Wilkes University were trained to teach Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery to other pharmacists and pharmacy students interested in becoming licensed to administer injectable medications in Pennsylvania.

The APhA Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program is a certificate training course developed for pharmacists and provides comprehensive immunization education and training. According to APhA, the course is "an innovative and interactive training program that teaches pharmacists the skills necessary to become a primary source for vaccine information and administration.

The program teaches the basics of immunology and focuses on practice implementation and legal/regulatory issues." (3) It consists of 20 hours of continuing education (CE) credit in the form of a self-study (12 hours) and a live training session (8 hours). (3) Students may complete the program without receiving CE credit.

The knowledge and skills taught in the program are consistent with educational outcomes listed in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) in 2004. (4) Immunization education and delivery addresses the third outcome of public health by promoting health improvement, wellness, and disease prevention. Educating pharmacy students about the role of immunization delivery in population-based care is also consistent with Standard 12 of the professional competencies listed in the Accreditation Standards 2007 for the doctor of pharmacy degrees The training program not only focuses on the public health outcome but also fosters the development of knowledge and skills in various areas of biomedical, pharmaceutical, administrative pharmacy, and clinical sciences.

The scope of practice for pharmacists is expanding in states across the country to include administration of medications or certain vaccines. As of March 2008, there were 48 states that authorized pharmacists to administer immunizations. More than 30,000 pharmacists in the United States have been trained through the APhA program. (2) The administration of vaccines has become part of the scope of practice for pharmacists in almost every state.

The APhA certificate training course has been incorporated into the curriculum at other pharmacy schools. One such method of incorporation was offered to P2 (second professional year) students during influenza season and involved a modified lecture using small group, case discussions. (6) However, this report appears to be the only published evidence to date on incorporating immunization training methods into the pharmacy curriculum.


The objective of this study was to describe h how one method of incorporating the certificate training program into the curriculum. The overall goal was to optimize immunization instruction in the curriculum.

The decision to incorporate the certificate course into the curriculum was approved at a department of pharmacy practice faculty retreat in May 2006. …

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