Adult Vaccination Increases With Health Insurers' Pharmacy Benefit

Inconsistency of insurance policy coverage, unaffordability, and difficulty accessing vaccine providers were found to be key barriers for adult immunization.

Inconsistency of insurance policy coverage, unaffordability, and difficulty accessing vaccine providers were found to be key barriers for adult immunization in a recent study by UCLA Center for Health Policy researchers.1 Lack of knowledge about the benefits of vaccination, as well as health system focus on pediatric immunization also were noted as barriers.

As a solution to many of these barriers and to improve public health, the study’s authors recommended requiring medical insurance plans to cover adult immunizations received in pharmacies.

“Including pharmacy-administered vaccines as a covered benefit will help many adult patients who have financial constraints, transportation issues or are unable to take time off work during a doctor’s office hours,” said Ozlem Equils, a steering committee member at the Immunization Coalition of Los Angeles County and lead author of the study, in a prepared statement.

Vaccinations are routinely recommended for herpes zoster, human papillomavirus (HPV), pneumococcal disease, Tdap, and hepatitis B, and annually for flu. Many insurers do not cover vaccines administered in pharmacies; cover a limited selection of vaccines; or require people they insure to get vaccinated only at pharmacies within their insurance network, according to study’s results.

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