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For Convenient Flu Shots, Patients Favor Pharmacies

Author: Laura Enderle, Associate Editor

Retail chain pharmacies were a popular source of flu vaccines in the 2010-2011 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in June. Nearly 20% of vaccinated adults received the shot at a store, according to the agency’s study of flu vaccine “hot spots.” 
 
The results of the analysis, published in the June 17 issue of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showed that physicians’ offices were the most common place of vaccination (39.84%), followed by chain supermarkets or drug stores (18.4%), and workplaces (17.4%). 
 
The numbers also revealed higher demand for convenient, pharmacy-based options than in previous flu seasons. “The proportion of adults vaccinated in stores during the 2010-2011 season increased in each age group compared with the 1998-99 and 2006-07 influenza seasons, when 5% and 7% of adults, respectively, were vaccinated in stores,” CDC researchers wrote. 
 
The report’s authors attribute the boost to changes in state laws that permit pharmacists to administer the vaccine. In 1999, just 22 states allowed pharmacists to administer flu shots to adults; in 2007, the number increased to 46; and in 2009, all 50 states permitted the practice. 
 
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores called the CDC report a “clarion call” to embrace pharmacists as providers of accessible, convenient health care, particularly vaccines.  
 
“This report should help to advance additional efforts at the state level to expand the portfolio of vaccines that pharmacists may administer, and expand the patient age ranges that they are able to serve,” said NACDS President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.