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Pharmacist Immunization Authority Associated with Higher Seasonal Influenza Immunization Rates

Michael Johnsrud, Ed Drozd | Aug 11, 2017

Avalere recently partnered with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) to explore the role that pharmacists can play in the uptake of seasonal influenza immunizations.

The research found that state-level policy changes that allow for pharmacists to administer influenza immunizations are associated with a nearly 8 percentage point increase in seasonal influenza immunization rates within 6 years after these policy changes over the years 2003 to 2013. Over this period, overall seasonal influenza immunization rates rose 25% among those surveyed (from 32% to 40%). This suggests that policy changes allowing pharmacists to administer may have been one of several important policy changes contributing to the rise in seasonal influenza immunization rates.  All 50 states and Washington, D.C. now allow for pharmacists to administer immunization to adults. The adoption of these policies began in the 1990s.

Research has shown that people forgo seasonal flu shots for a variety of reasons; however, lack of access to an administration site for immunizations has been noted as a major barrier. One recent study found that 41% of the people in the U.S. received their seasonal flu shot from a nontraditional setting, which included the workplace, retail establishment, or community center.

Avalere and NACDS’ research also found that flu immunization rates increased by age. For example, those in the 30-34 age bracket had a 25% immunization rate versus 41% for the 55-59 age bracket. The study also noted that 22% of those who reported access to care issues due to cost received flu immunizations compared to 37% for those who reported no such issues. 

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