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WSU, Albertsons create first U.S. program allowing pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations

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SPOKANE, Wash. — A pilot program in Idaho, hosted by Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy and Albertsons Companies, has led to the first law to expand patient access to health care services through immunization training for pharmacy technicians.

Gaining permission from the Idaho Board of Pharmacy,  the WSU College of Pharmacy and Albertsons collaborated on the program that will allow Albertsons pharmacy technicians to be the first in the nation to administer an immunization.

The Idaho Pharmacy Technician Immunization Training Pilot was developed by WSU College of Pharmacy to provide solutions to ongoing challenges in health care delivery and access, and disease prevention.

The pilot started in December 2016 with WSU working with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and Idaho Board of Pharmacy. Through a shared connection, Albertsons became engaged in the program and provided a grant to develop and deliver the four-hour professional education to interested pharmacy technicians in Spokane, Wash., and Boise, Idaho.

“WSU faculty colleagues Kyle Frazier, Linda Garrelts-MacLean, and I trained 25 Albertsons and Safeway technicians and are collecting data on how many immunizations they give between December 2016 and May 2017,” said Kimberly McKeirnan, clinical assistant professor, WSU College of Pharmacy. “The data collected will be used to show how expanding the number of health professionals trained to immunize patients can increase immunization rates, better utilize the skills of pharmacy technicians, and ease the time burden on pharmacists.”

In March 2017, this pilot prompted the state of Idaho to pass a law, the first of its kind in the United States, to allow Idaho pharmacy technicians to undergo the pharmacy board-approved training to administer immunizations to pharmacy patients.

“Pharmacy technicians are integral to our business,” said Mark Panzer, SVP of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness.  “We are proud to embrace the changing role of pharmacy technicians and partner with WSU to expand access to health services in Idaho. We couldn’t be prouder than when our very own Samantha Thompson, a Safeway Pharmacy Technician in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, became the first pharmacy technician in the country to administer an immunization.”

More training is currently planned for other technicians in Idaho who are interested in pursuing this additional responsibility.

 

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