The National Association of Chain Drug Stores called a new report on flu vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a "clarion call" for expanding the role of pharmacies in providing primary health care services.


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CDC report: Pharmacies key in flu shot delivery

June 17th, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores called a new report on flu vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a "clarion call" for expanding the role of pharmacies in providing primary health care services.

NACDS said Friday that the June 17 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that retail stores with pharmacies are playing a growing role in the nation's influenza vaccination effort. The study examined the demographics of people receiving flu immunizations during the 2010-11 flu season and where their flu vaccinations were administered.

"For adults overall, a doctor's office was the most common place (39.8%) for receipt of the 2010-11 influenza vaccine, with stores (e.g. supermarkets or drug stores) (18.4%) and workplaces (17.4%) the next most common," the CDC report stated.

Retail pharmacy sites handled a bigger share of the flu shot workload, according to the report.

"The proportion of adults vaccinated in stores (18.4%) during the 2010-11 season increased in each age group compared with the 1998-99 and 2006-07 influenza seasons, when 5% and 7% of adults, respectively, were vaccinated in stores," the CDC said. "This increase likely resulted partly from changes in state laws allowing pharmacists to administer influenza vaccinations to adults and, subsequently, more pharmacies offering influenza vaccinations.”

In the report, the CDC detailed the increase in the authority of pharmacists to administer vaccinations. In 1999, 22 states allowed pharmacists to give flu vaccines to adults, and by 2007 that more than doubled to 46 states. And two years ago, in June 2009, all 50 states allowed pharmacists to administer flu immunizations under prescribing protocols or prescription to adults.

"The important role of pharmacists and pharmacies in providing vaccinations is entirely consistent with other studies that have shown that patients trust their pharmacists and find them to be the most accessible providers of patient care," Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of NACDS, said in a statement. "This report should help to advance additional efforts at the state level to expand the portfolio of vaccines that pharmacists may administer and expand the patient age ranges that they are able to serve."

What's more, the CDC study spotlights the potential of pharmacies in the nation's health care delivery system, according to Anderson.

"This report also underscores the importance of ensuring that public policy helps to foster the value and viability of pharmacies, which play an important role in helping to improve lives and reduce healthcare costs when given the opportunity to do so," he stated.

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