Influenza vaccine delivery delays from the perspective of primary care physicians

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Jun;40(6):620-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.02.021.


Background: The effects of delayed influenza vaccine delivery on primary practices are currently unknown.

Purpose: To describe, among primary care physicians nationally regarding the 2006-2007 influenza season: (1) how physicians defined influenza vaccine delay; (2) the extent of reported vaccine delays; and (3) the perceived effects of vaccine delays.

Methods: Between March and June 2007, a total of 1268 primary care physicians nationally were surveyed.

Results: Survey response was 74% (n=940). The majority of physicians (79%) defined "influenza vaccine delay" as not receiving vaccine by November 1. Fifty-three percent reported a vaccine delay. Providers reported the following as effects of delays: reduced satisfaction of patients or parents in the practice (72%); decreased percentage in their practice who received the vaccination (65%); disruption of scheduling influenza clinics (55%); increased referral of patients elsewhere for vaccination (55%); and negative financial impact caused by unused vaccine (46%). Those who reported experiencing delays more often reported not meeting demand for vaccine (adjusted risk ratio [ARR]=1.83, 95% CI=1.64, 2.07); that grocery stores, retail outlets, or pharmacies had vaccine before their practices did (ARR=1.82, 95% CI=1.53, 2.26); not receiving all vaccine that was ordered (ARR=1.19, 95% CI=1.06, 1.36); and having leftover vaccine (ARR=1.17, 95% CI=1.04, 1.32).

Conclusions: During the 2006-2007 influenza season, a non-shortage season, the majority of respondents reported experiencing an influenza vaccine delivery delay. Experiencing a delay was thought to decrease vaccination use, increase referrals elsewhere, and have a negative financial impact on practices. Delayed delivery of influenza vaccine is disruptive for primary care practices, and it consequently may affect vaccination coverage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / methods*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza Vaccines / supply & distribution*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Influenza Vaccines