Gulf Medical University’s College of Pharmacy hosts conference to drive pharmacists-administered vaccination

Published: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 5:12 PM

To advance public health, pharmacists across the UAE joined hands to develop one more layer of primary prevention by vaccinating people in community pharmacies, wherein a pharmacist-administered vaccination is being considered as a convenient and new gateway for the public to receive immunisations. Gulf Medical University’s College of Pharmacy with the support of Pfizer organised the Middle East conference on pharmacist-administered vaccination at Shangri-La Hotel Dubai. The event, which acted as a knowledge hub for pharmacy veterans, discussed the latest community pharmacy trends across the globe, highlighting the cost-effectiveness of the model and its role in boosting the healthcare economy.

The event, which included participation from over 350 individuals from pharmacies, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, academia and government entities, set the scene for the widespread adoption of vaccination services by pharmacists. Experts from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the USA shared experiences, best practices, education and training of pharmacists and government regulations, all backed by research analysis from local, regional and international studies, and its contribution to improving public health. Vaccination services by pharmacists in the community pharmacy setting are changing the face of pharmacies from retail outlets to patient care centres.

Dr Sherief Khalifa, dean of the College of Pharmacy, Gulf Medical University, commented on the initiative: “The Middle East conference on pharmacist-administered vaccination is a milestone event marking the expansion of the role of the UAE pharmacist to serve the public and enhance population health. The global and regional support for this initiative has been overwhelming. The cost saving on the country’s healthcare budget adds to the attractiveness of this important and historic initiative. Over the past three years, the College of Pharmacy at Gulf Medical University delivered several workshops and training courses to prepare pharmacists to become immunised for the Covid-19 and flu vaccines. We are excited to be part of this initiative and to see the UAE advancing population health and leading the change in the pharmacy profession.”

Notable speakers at the conference included: Dr Lalila Hussain Al Jasmi, Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE; professor David Holdford, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA; professor Daniel Baker, Washington State University, USA; Dr Kimberly McKeiman, Washington State University, USA; Dr Ahmed Aldemerdash, King Saudi University, Saudi Arabia; Dr Barry Bleidt, Nova Southeastern University, USA; Dr Ziad A Saleh, Al Ain Pharmacy, UAE; Dr Rula M Darwish, the University of Jordan, Jordan; Dr Saeed Hussain, Emirates Medical Association; Dr Amin Elshamy, Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE; Dr Mira Alhooti, Aster Pharmacy Group; Dr Zakieh Abuekhair, Al Thiqa Pharmacy Group.

Dr Yasser El Derbashy, Middle East, Russia and Africa medical affairs lead, Pfizer, commented: "As valuable members of the health care team, pharmacists are well-positioned to advance public health in the communities they serve by providing convenient access to vaccinations. Pfizer is firmly committed to working with governments all around the world as well as global health partners to achieve equitable and affordable access to vaccines for all people."

The Middle East conference on pharmacist-administered vaccination is the region's first-of-its-kind event, attracting attendees from international academia, local companies, government entities, research analysts and advisors, insurance service providers, as well as officials from the region's regulatory bodies.

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