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New project wants to expand access to vaccines in Wisconsin

Drugstores might begin to offer immunizations.
New project wants to expand access to vaccines in Wisconsin
Posted at 3:17 PM, Dec 12, 2017

The Medical College of Wisconsin is working on a project with the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin that aims to expand access to vaccines within the state. 

The Wisconsin Public Radio reported that the project will spend $489,000 in an effort to increase access by having drugstores offer immunizations. The statewide project is expected to last two and a half years. 

Wisconsin falls short in federal vaccination goals in many age and race demographics, according to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry and America's Health Rankings. 

"This investment aims to increase the number of vaccines administered to residents of all ages and therefore reducing the prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases in Wisconsin," said Erica Martin, manager of Practice and Population Health Initiative at the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.

The project will initially focus on Milwaukee, Green Bay and Wausau before looking at rural areas.It will work with community coalitions to determine who may benefit from pharmacies carrying vaccinations, said, George MacKinnon, the college's dean.

"In certain populations, there may be under-immunized people," he said. "Black and Hispanic seniors, for example, tend to be less up-to-date on their tetanus and their pneumococcal (vaccines), and adults in all groups (are less up-to-date on) shingles and influenza." 
 
The project also aims to educate physicians, insurers and the public that pharmacists have the skill set needed to provide immunizations, he said.

The project will begin next month. It is funded through the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment.