Pharmacist-Provided Flu Shots Please Patients

June 9, 2015
Rachel Lutz

Patients are highly satisfied with the influenza vaccines pharmacists are providing in community pharmacies.

Patients are highly satisfied with the influenza vaccines pharmacists are providing in community pharmacies.

With community pharmacists expanding their scope of practice to include immunizations, researchers set out to assess overall patient satisfaction with these new services.

“We thought it is important to assess the program effectiveness in terms of patient satisfaction and convenience,” study author Sony Poulose, PharmD, MPharm, CDE, who owns a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy in Hamilton, Ontario, explained to Pharmacy Times in an e-mail. “We also want to know whether patients are comfortable and confident getting their flu shot in pharmacy.”

To find out, Dr. Poulose and his co-authors reviewed the results of a retrospective telephone survey completed by 240 patients who received influenza vaccine at a community pharmacy during the 2013-2014 flu season. These patients were interviewed by a neutral party who was not involved in administering the vaccines, and each phone call lasted approximately 5 minutes.

The phone interview assessed the patients’ experience and satisfaction with receiving the flu vaccine in a community pharmacy, as well as their willingness to continue receiving the immunization in the same setting next year. The researchers also analyzed whether the patients experienced adverse effects from the vaccine itself. Lastly, the interview evaluated whether the patients were likely to consider receiving other immunizations from a community pharmacist.

Among those who received the influenza vaccine in the 2013-2014 flu season, one-third did so from a community pharmacy, compared with 43% from a medical office and 23% from other locations such as flu clinics or the workplace.

Almost all patients said the experience of receiving the flu vaccine from a community pharmacist was “somewhat pleasant” or “very pleasant,” while 99% of patients reported it was convenient, and 98% said the pharmacist was skilled in administering the vaccine.

Moreover, 92% of the patients indicated they would receive their next flu vaccine at a community pharmacy, and more than two-thirds said they would like to receive other immunizations from pharmacists in the future.

“Our participants told us it’s a valuable service and they will continue to use this service in future,” Dr. Poulose concluded. “People find it’s convenient because no appointment was required [the service was offered for 16 hours per day, 8 am to midnight]. This service also generated more trust and confidence among patients towards pharmacists.”

Dr. Poulose noted the patient’s experience could be improved by reducing wait times even more and ensuring there is enough flu vaccine in supply, as there were instances where the stock was depleted.

This study was published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.