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Global Healthy Living Foundation and IQVIA Analysis Highlights the Critical Function Pharmacies Play in Expanding Vaccination Services to Decrease Healthcare Disparities
UPPER NYACK, NY (January 18, 2023) – The Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) today published a new report finding an increase nationwide in people receiving vaccines at pharmacies compared to physician practices in 2020 and 2021. Data show that across all vaccines for adults (regardless of location, gender, or income), a large majority of the administration took place at the pharmacy level, with most COVID-19, shingles, and flu shots administered by pharmacists (as compared to non-pharmacy medical settings), with share of pneumococcal and adult HPV vaccination at pharmacy trending up, as well.
This report was commissioned by the Global Healthy Living Foundation and the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science to better understand immunization access improvements following the enactment of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) and subsequent modifications made during the COVID-19 pandemic, which authorized pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer Covid-19 (3+), Pediatric (3-18), and Flu vaccines (18+) without a prescriber order. The PREP Act will lapse in 2024 in 25 States where this authority has not yet been made permanent by new state laws. Previously shared Global Healthy Living Foundation studies have shown that pharmacies also have more locations and greater operating hours than physician practices in low-income communities, further highlighting the critical function pharmacies play in expanding vaccination services.
“Our research shows that immunization rates improve when pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are authorized to vaccinate adults,” said Robert Popovian, PharmD, MS, Chief Science Policy Officer, Global Healthy Living Foundation. “It’s time to permanently codify the PREP Act into federal and state law while further expanding authorization to empower pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians to administer all Food and Drug (FDA) approved and/or ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) recommended vaccines, like their physician colleagues.”
Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals in the U.S. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 91 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, and approximately the entire U.S. population will walk through a pharmacy in any week.
“Broadening vaccination authority in pharmacies will increase immunization rates, reduce overall health care costs, and save lives, laying the groundwork for a better, stronger, and fairer healthcare system for all,” added Seth Ginsberg, president and co-founder, Global Healthy Living Foundation.
Pharmacy-based vaccination increased nationwide regardless of location, income, or gender
The GHLF/IQVIA report, using proprietary IQVIA data to understand the location of administration of several adult and children’s vaccines, found an increase in adult vaccines administration at pharmacies as compared to non-pharmacy medical settings in 2020 and in 2021. Most of the adult COVID-19 and shingles vaccine administration took place at pharmacies, and around 60 percent of vaccination during flu season (Quarters 3 and 4) took place at pharmacies. Share of pharmacy administration of other adult vaccinations also trended upwards. For example, while HPV vaccines are generally used in adolescent populations, 20 percent of all HPV vaccine claims are for adults. At the start of 2018, only 5 percent of adult HPV vaccines were administered in pharmacies, but by the end of 2021 around 20 percent of administration happened at pharmacies. Share of Pneumococcal vaccination happening at pharmacies also trended upward and is correlated with the flu season as people may interact more with pharmacists for the flu vaccine and may be informed regarding the pneumococcal vaccine.
For children, a large majority of COVID-19 vaccines were administered at pharmacies as compared to non-pharmacy medical settings. Regarding the flu vaccines, there has been a slight increase in pharmacy administration in 2020 and 2021 (12-13 percent during the flu season) compared to 2018 and 19 (7-10 percent during flu season).
Pharmacy-based vaccination increased nationwide regardless of location, income, or gender. Specifically, Hispanic and Asian populations receive a larger share of vaccines at pharmacies compared to other race/ethnicity categories.
“The COVID pandemic led to unprecedented cooperation and effort to improve immunization rates to stem the immediate threat of illness and bridge gaps in health equity, which in turn spotlighted the role pharmacists play as an essential member of the health care team,” added Dr. Popovian. “Let’s continue that momentum by capitalizing on these learnings and ensuring that vaccination continues to be accessible and equitable moving forward.”
To read “Trends in Vaccine Administration in the United States,” visit https://www.iqvia.com/insights/the-iqvia-institute/reports/trends-in-vaccine-administration-in-the-united-states
This report was supported by Pfizer and produced independently by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science in partnership with Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF).
GHLF’s Patient-Focused Economic and Policy Research Division
At the Global Healthy Living Foundation, the Patient-Centered Economic and Policy Research Division conducts original research focused on health policy economics and outcomes research to better understand how current and proposed health policies, regulations, and legislation affect patients’ financial, healthcare, quality-of-life, and other outcomes. We aim to increase transparency and understanding of the public health policies, regulations, and legislation impacting chronic disease patient communities by sharing our research via publication, our website, social media platforms, and conventional media. Our researchers also address these important topics through opinion editorials, speaking engagements, and our world-class podcast series – Healthcare Matters. Our experts have published extensively on the impact of biopharmaceutical and health policies on costs and clinical outcomes in the most prominent medical sources and media publications. They are sought-after speakers, providing briefings and expert reviews for the U.S. Congress, dozens of state legislatures, and at conferences and medical symposiums around the world. Learn more at https://ghlf.org/our-work/economic-policy-research/
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