HealthDay News — Administering influenza vaccines through pharmacies in addition to traditional locations can increase vaccination coverage in the event of an epidemic, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in Vaccine.
Sarah M. Bartsch, M.P.H., from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues simulated the impact of different influenza epidemics and the impact of utilizing pharmacies in addition to traditional locations for vaccination for 2017.
The researchers found that adding pharmacies with typical business hours averted 11.9 million symptomatic influenza cases, 23,577 to 94,307 deaths, $1.0 billion in direct costs, $4.2 to 44.4 billion in productivity losses, and $5.2 to 45.3 billion in overall costs for an epidemic with a reproductive rate of 1.30.
For an epidemic with a reproductive rate of 1.63, 16.0 million symptomatic influenza cases would be averted, in addition to 35,407 to 141,625 deaths, $1.9 billion in direct costs, $6.0 to 65.5 billion in productivity losses, and $7.8 to 67.3 billion in overall costs. Up to 16.5 million symptomatic influenza cases, 145,278 deaths, $1.9 billion in direct costs, $4.1 billion in productivity loss, and $69.5 billion in overall costs could be prevented with the extension of pharmacy hours. There would be a cost benefit of $4.1 to 11.5 billion with the addition of pharmacies.
“Pharmacies should be considered as points of administering epidemic vaccines in addition to traditional settings as soon as vaccines become available,” the authors write.
The study was partially funded by Walgreens.