The pandemic has only continued to highlight racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. In a presentation theater sponsored by GSK during APhA2022 titled "Why Words Matter: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Adult Immunization," Jewel Sophia Younge, PharmD, BCPS, and Trishia E. Shaw, PharmD, BCPS, reviewed adult immunization rates across the country and discussed the importance of cultural competency in health care and immunization education for patients of various backgrounds in the community, offering tips for conducting effective vaccination clinics.

According to Dr. Younge, "Vaccinating is fun. When everything is moving well, it is fun. It is good will for you and your store in your community and establishes you as a healthcare provider."

To ensure successful vacation, particularly during vaccination clinics, she offered a series of dos/don'ts. "Don't overlook your B-team. This is the perfect team project for your brand newbies, residency-bound interns. Train them and your bench team could bring home a win."

Dr. Younge also warned to not fail to plan. "Train your crew. Delegate advanced billing, building the vaccine travel tote, and choreographing setup and breakdown. Run a timely clinic and allow your team members enough time to complete the billing and log the immunizations before their commitment ends."

She also advised vaccinators to take a measured approach to interacting with people at clinics, recommending avoiding the hard sell. "Capitalize on 'yes,'" she said, "but take 'no' for an answer." Moreover, she said, vaccinators should not assume that a "no" response to one vaccine is a "no" to all vaccines.

"Don't require appointments for mass vaccination clinics," she added. "Plan for walk-ins. The point is to capitalize on convenience." Dr. Younge reminded attendees not to forget about the booster plan for follow-up doses "so you can advise people when to return. If you only plan to hold one clinic in the location, advise the patient on how to follow up at your pharmacy."

On the other hand, Dr. Younge said, there are steps that pharmacists can take to effect positive vaccination programs. "Recognize that pharmacy deserts exist." Mass vaccination clinics, she pointed out, can bring vaccines to the people who need them.

Benefits of offsite vaccination clinics may extend to the pharmacy, Dr. Younge remarked. "Use mass vaccination clinics to take the pressure off the bench and reduce wait times. It is very important to run an efficient pharmacy that serves patients well. Even a small drop-in clinic, held a few hours each weekend, can relieve the weekday staff."

She also advised holding vaccination clinics where people "need to go." Choice locations, she said, are weekends at community centers, places where parents drop off and pick up their children, free food giveaways, grocery store parking lots, and Federally Qualified Health Centers. She added that vaccinators should coordinate with community leaders and other vaccinators to ensure that they are providing equitable access to vaccination.

Finally, Dr. Younge touted the value of persistence. "Be determined," she said. "Anticipate seasonal waves and plan to increase your presence to capture new patients. I was a Girl Scout. I sold a lot of cookies. You would be surprised how many people told me they didn't want cookies...the first time."

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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