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Number of Patients Receiving Influenza Vaccine in Community Pharmacies Increasing

June 24, 2019

Although patients receive the influenza vaccine more frequently in physician offices, a recent study shows that the proportion of patients vaccinated in community pharmacies has increased. Researchers published their findings online in CMAJ Open.  

Our aim was to identify characteristics of patients vaccinated against influenza and predictors of vaccination at a physician's office versus a community pharmacy,” said lead study researcher Nancy Waite, PharmD, of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo, and colleagues.  

For the study, Dr Waite and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of patients who had a record of receipt of an influenza vaccine between October and March in the 2013/14 and 2015/16 influenza seasons in Ontario. The research team used health administrative databases to help identify the patients. Additionally, they used Poisson regression models to estimate associations between baseline characteristics and the receipt of influenza vaccination in a community pharmacy.

According to the findings, the team found a 7.9% decrease in administered vaccines in 2015/16 compared to 2013/14 (2,454,178 in 2015/16 versus 2,677,278 in 2013/14). However, the researchers said they found that the number of patients vaccinated in community pharmacies increased between the two vaccine periods (757,729 [28.3%] in 2013/14 versus 859,794 [35.0%] in 2015/16).

“Living in nonurban areas or higher-income neighborhoods, not identifying as an immigrant, not having a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension, and receiving a pharmacist service on the same day as the vaccination were predictors of being vaccinated in a pharmacy, regardless of age group,” said Dr Waite and colleagues.   

The researchers explained that among patients 66 years or older, who had a hospital admission in the previous year were more likely to be vaccinated in a pharmacy than in a physician's office (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.09). Further, patients with higher annual medication costs were more likely to be vaccinated in a physician’s office.

The research team said that the location of the previous season’s vaccination did in fact predict the current season’s place of vaccination age ≥ 66 yr: physician's office: adjusted IRR 0.56 [95% CI 0.56-0.57], pharmacy: adjusted IRR 2.37 [95% CI 2.35-2.39]; age ≤ 65 yr: physician's office: adjusted IRR 0.57 [95% CI 0.57-0.57], pharmacy: adjusted IRR 2.19 [95% CI 2.18-2.20]). 

“For the 2013/14 and 2015/16 influenza seasons, the influenza vaccine was administered more frequently in physician offices than in community pharmacies, but the proportion of patients vaccinated in community pharmacies increased between the 2 periods,” the study authors concluded. “Physicians and pharmacists can encourage patients to take advantage of the availability of influenza vaccines across various settings. 

Julie Gould  


Waite NM, Cadarette SM, Campitelli MA, et al. Characteristics of patients vaccinated against influenza in physician offices versus pharmacies and predictors of vaccination location: a cross-sectional study [published online June 21, 2019]. CMAJ Open. 2019;7(2):E421-E429. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20180189

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