Mon, 11 Dec 2023

Washington DC [US], October 3 (ANI): Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a potential answer to this ongoing problem. Researchers discovered that using an electronic questionnaire at the time of appointment booking for seasonal influenza or COVID-19 immunisations is a rapid and effective way to identify people in Ontario who are willing to get additional life-saving vaccines.

The study was published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.

The most prevalent sexually transmitted infection is HPV or human papillomavirus. It is also the most common cause of cervical cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 1,400 Canadian women are impacted each year, with nearly 400 deaths. It is fully preventable with the HPV vaccine, yet many people are unvaccinated.

"This is a massive opportunity for policymakers to focus on vaccine campaigns to reach more patients," said Dr. Wasem Alsabbagh, associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Questions were embedded into MedEssist, a platform many pharmacists use for scheduling vaccination appointments, to reveal if individuals booking for their flu or COVID-19 vaccines are also eligible for HPV or shingles vaccines and their willingness to discuss these vaccines with their pharmacist.

"During a time of prevalent misinformation, providing robust information through healthcare providers is essential," Alsabbagh said. "Pharmacists were at the front line during the pandemic and proved that they can talk to their patients, explain the importance of the vaccines, address their safety concerns and allow patients to make informed decisions."Currently, we know that around 60 per cent of people in Canada are vaccinated against HPV. However, the study revealed that of those booking their COVID-19 and influenza vaccine appointments, only 30 per cent were vaccinated against HPV. Overall, 20 per cent indicated they were willing to speak to a pharmacist to discuss any concerns they may have.

"Vaccination can save lives and prevent a lot of adverse clinical outcomes," Alsabbagh said. "This would not only prevent human suffering but also lead to significant savings in the health-care system." (ANI)

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