Community pharmacist-administered influenza immunization improves patient access to vaccination

Can Pharm J (Ott). 2014 Nov;147(6):359-65. doi: 10.1177/1715163514552557.


Objectives: To describe the demographic characteristics and risk factors of patients receiving influenza vaccination in community pharmacies and to understand patient experiences and perceptions surrounding being vaccinated by a pharmacist.

Methods: Survey data were collected by research pharmacists at 4 different community pharmacy locations in Toronto throughout a period of 8 weeks during October and November 2013. Participation in the survey was voluntary, and all patients vaccinated by pharmacists were invited to complete a survey following immunization.

Results: During the course of the study, 2498 vaccine doses were administered among all study sites, and 1502 surveys were completed. Our data showed a high degree of patient satisfaction, with 92% of patients indicating they were very satisfied with the pharmacist's injection technique and the services they received. Furthermore, 86% of patients were very comfortable with being vaccinated by a pharmacist, and 99% of patients reported they would recommend that friends and family be vaccinated by a pharmacist. Convenience and accessibility were major determinants of patient satisfaction, as shown by 46% of all written comments specifically addressing these factors. Of the patients surveyed, 25% were not regular annual vaccine recipients, and 47% were classified as being at high risk for influenza complications according to Public Health Agency of Canada criteria. Notably, 28% of total patients and 21% of high-risk patients reported that they would not have been immunized this year if pharmacy-based vaccination were not available.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that pharmacists provide a highly convenient and accessible option for seasonal flu vaccination that is viewed favourably by patients. Administration of the flu vaccine by pharmacists has the potential to positively affect public health by improving vaccination rates among high-risk patients, first-time or occasional vaccine recipients, and patients who may not otherwise have an opportunity to be vaccinated. It is hoped that expanding pharmacist vaccination services to include administration of other common vaccines would receive similar positive reception by patients and improve overall access to vaccination.