RENO, NV - When you think of a pharmacist, one image often comes to mind: counting pills and filling prescriptions.
In the health care world, this profession is highly regarded by the public.
”Pharmacists are probably the most accessible health care professional there is to the general public. So this kind of makes sense,” Larry Pinson, Executive Director of the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.
Pinson says back in 2008, an examination of Nevada's abysmal child immunization rate compelled Nevada's Board of Pharmacy to ask for a change the law in the state--allowing for pharmacists to deliver shots.
“We gave roughly 28,000 vaccines that year; this last year, 2012, pharmacists gave 213,000 so that's a huge, huge, increase,” says Pinson.
Pinson says it was a logical step to provide the shots where local residents already automatically go for other things.
These days pharmacists can deliver any kind of immunization on any age patient.
This month until March you'll see a real push to get a flu shot.
Large chains like Walgreens and CVS, because of their size, may often get the largest supply sooner than many public health agencies or private physician's offices.
“You want to make sure you are immunized before flu season really even starts. That's your best protection because you have a couple of weeks for the vaccination to take its effect, and this way you know you haven't been exposed, it will last the whole season. So there is no problem; just get it done,” says Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada .
Parker says her agency is partnering with Walgreens for a community voucher program this year.
It's designed to get flu shots to anyone eight years and older who has no insurance throughout this flu season.
The first event is scheduled for Wednesday in Reno.
The community voucher program, which offers free flu shots to the uninsured, takes place from 1:00-2:00PM in the afternoon at 434 Washington Street in Reno.