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Pharmacies make an impact with flu shots

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Pharmacy-administered flu shots are helping to lift influenza immunization rates, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

The association said an article published in Clinical Therapeutics highlights an Avalere-NACDS study finding that as pharmacists were granted authority by states to administer flu vaccines, influenza vaccinations rates edged up.

Specially, the study revealed that state-level policy changes enabling pharmacists to administer flu shots were associated with a nearly 8% rise in seasonal flu immunization rates within six years of changes, covering the period of 2003 to 2013. In that time frame, overall seasonal flu vaccination rates climbed 25% among those surveyed, from 32% to 40% immunized.

“Overall, as states moved to allow pharmacists to administer influenza immunizations, the odds that an adult resident received an influenza immunization rose, with the effect increasing over time,” the researchers revealed. “These findings suggest that pharmacies and other nontraditional settings may offer accessible venues for patients when implementing other public health initiatives.”

Conducting the study were NACDS senior economist Laura Miller and Avalere Health’s Edward Drozd and Michael Johnsrud. Avalere posted an online article to spotlight the study.

Though nowadays immunizations at pharmacies are common to consumers, it wasn’t all that long ago that drug stores nationwide were allowed to administer flu vaccines, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson pointed out.

“Today, many people find it surprising that it was not until 2009 that pharmacists were allowed to administer the flu shot in all 50 states,” Anderson commented. “Since 2015, pharmacists have been allowed to administer at least three adult vaccines in all 50 states. That is tremendous progress, and research and anecdotal evidence supports the public-health merits of improving patients’ access to these highly educated health professionals.”


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