Vaccination is a key strategy in the prevention of respiratory infectious diseases like Covid-19 and influenza, and therefore improves people’s quality of life. Administering vaccines against Covid-19 and flu at the same time increases uptake of each vaccine and increases protection against both diseases, according to the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).
The Federation recently published Optimising Vaccination Through Coadministration of Influenza and Covid-19 Vaccines: Guidance for Pharmacists, which contains chapters looking separately at the impact of Covid-19 and flu, and a further chapter comparing the characteristics of the two diseases. A final chapter focuses on opportunities for co-administration of the two vaccines and how pharmacists can contribute to global health by supporting this. The guidance also summarises three clinical trials, the outcomes of which support the safety of co-administration of these vaccines.
The guidance highlights that co-administration is convenient for patients, saves patients’ time, and increases the probability that people will be fully vaccinated. It adds that while there is a need for more data on safety and effectiveness of different combinations of vaccines, the currently available evidence supports co-administration, as highlighted by guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation. FIP believes that pharmacies, which people visit frequently to access medicines and services, are ideal locations for vaccines co-administration.
Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, FIP lead for practice development and transformation, and co-author of the guidance, said: “Many countries still do not have pharmacy-based vaccine administration services. FIP encourages pharmacists around the world to advocate pharmacy vaccines administration programmes and to seek legislative approaches to facilitate their implementation. Where such regulations are already in place, advocating pharmacy-based co-administration of flu and Covid-19 vaccines will contribute to improving vaccination coverage against both diseases.”