Wednesday, March 19, 2008

California's Chain Pharmacy Immunization Delivery: Results of a Statewide Survey

Tammy Pilisuk, Immunization Branch, CA Department of Public Health, 850 Marina Prkwy, Bldg. P, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA, USA and Jeffery Goad, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, 1985 Zonal Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will, with regard to chain pharmacy-based immunizations, be able to: evaluate the geographic distribution of access points; discuss the various vaccines and patient populations served; understand the training, procedures, and environment in which pharmacists provide immunizations; and to describe objectives public health can pursue to build partnerships with pharmacists to improve immunization practice.

Increasing media attention, literature and conference presentations by other healthcare providers indicate that immunizations delivered by pharmacists is growing and of interest to the immunization community. Information on the scope and distribution of such services in California is currently only anecdotal. California law permits pharmacists to administer all vaccines without restrictions under protocol with a prescriber.

The objectives of this survey were to better understand the current scope of immunization services by chain pharmacies, to assess current pharmacy practices related to their immunization services, and to build an infrastructure to explore partnership opportunities.

A telephone survey was conducted with state-level corporate liaisons to each pharmacy chain. Respondents also sent in written information on vaccine usage and store locations. Immunizing pharmacy locations were overlaid on key California demographics.

Responses were obtained from the eight California-based chain pharmacies. All respondents indicated they were involved in pharmacist-administered immunizations. All served adults; about half also served 9-18 years. Vaccine usage was highest for influenza and pneumococcal, but all vaccines were administered at different levels of participation. All companies had policies to notify the patient's medical home, although these varied. About half routinely update the patient's immunization record. Respondents expressed interest in partnering with public health, including participating in the registry.

Opportunities exist for public health to build a partnership with chain pharmacies to provide information or training resources, promote quality immunization services by pharmacists, and to increase the public's awareness of immunization access.