Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Distribution and Administration of Vaccine in Community Pharmacies: A 17-State Study

Suntaree Watcharadamrongkun1, Salisa C. Westrick2, and Jeanine K. Mount1. (1) Social and Administrative Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, 777 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI, USA, (2) Pharmacy Care Systems, Auburn University, 128 Miller Hall, Auburn University, AL, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
1. Identify vaccines distributed by community pharmacies
2. Explore channels of distribution of vaccines through community pharmacies
3. Recognize the role of community pharmacies as distributors in immunization delivery systems

Involving community pharmacies in immunization delivery is a recognized means to improve vaccination levels. Less is known about the role of community pharmacies as vaccine distributors and how this relates to immunization delivery. This study aims to fill this gap.

1) Identify the number of flu vaccine doses ordered, received, and administered by community pharmacies.
2) Identify types and amounts of vaccines distributed by community pharmacies.
3) Compare the number of flu vaccine doses distributed by pharmacies with and without in-house immunization services.

Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) regarding community pharmacy involvement in immunization provision were used to collect data during 7/052/06. Seventeen states were selected to maximize variability in immunization laws and geographical location; 150 pharmacies were randomly selected in each state. Key informant interviews were conducted. Descriptive statistics and t-test were used to analyze data.

Of 2,558 selected community pharmacies, 1,707 (69.1%) completed interviews. Of these, 301 pharmacies (17.7%) offered in-house immunization services. Compared to pharmacies that did not offer in-house immunization services, pharmacies offering this service ordered (p = .001) and administered (p = .000) significantly more flu vaccine doses, but distributed significantly fewer doses to physicians, clinics, or other health care providers (p <.05). Flu vaccine accounted for the largest number of vaccines purchased, distributed to physician practices, and administered in community pharmacies. Flu, pneumococcal, and haemophilus influenza type b were the top three vaccines distributed through community pharmacies.

Community pharmacies are vital contributors in vaccine distribution systems, working as liaisons, immunizers, and distributors of vaccines that protect and promote public health.