A systematic review of the role of pharmacists in vaccination services in low-and middle-income countries

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021 Feb;17(2):300-306. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.03.016. Epub 2020 Mar 28.


Background: Pharmacists' role in vaccination has expanded in some countries with pharmacists having greater authority to perform various immunization activities, from vaccine storage, vaccine adverse event reporting, vaccination education and advocacy, to vaccine administration. However, pharmacists' present involvement in vaccination services is poorly understood across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Objective: To identify and synthesize evidence on pharmacists' roles in offering vaccination services in LMICs.

Methods: We searched three databases (PubMed, Embase, Scopus) and the gray literature to identify articles which described pharmacist involvement in vaccination services in LMICs. We abstracted data on reported roles of pharmacists in vaccination, as well as relevant country, vaccines, and populations served.

Results: From the initial 612 records we identified, twenty-five (n = 25) studies representing 25 LMICs met our inclusion criteria. The most commonly reported role of pharmacists in vaccination across identified LMICs was vaccine advocacy and education (n = 15 countries). Pharmacist administered vaccination and storage of vaccines at pharmacies was reported in 8 countries. An additional 6 countries reported allowing vaccination at community pharmacies by other healthcare professionals. Immunization related training for pharmacists was reported or required in 8 countries. Fewer studies reported that pharmacists have access to patient immunization records in their respective LMICs (n = 6 countries) or had reported pharmacist involvement in vaccine adverse event reporting (n = 4 countries).

Conclusions: Pharmacists have the potential to play an important role in increasing access to vaccines and improving coverage, yet evidence of their role in vaccinations remains limited across LMICs. Greater documentation of pharmacists' involvement in vaccination services in LMICs is needed to demonstrate the value of successful integration of pharmacists in immunization programs.

Keywords: Immunization; Low-and middle-income country; Pharmacist; Pharmacy; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Vaccination