Today it seems like there is a retail pharmacy on every corner across the country offering immunizations, but it wasn’t always this way. It wasn’t until 2010 when pharmacists in all 50 U.S. states were authorized to administer vaccinations.1 Around this time, people began recognizing pharmacies as convenient and affordable alternatives to the doctor’s office to get flu shots and improve community health.2
Convenience and Affordability
According to a PwC Health Research Institute study, more patients than ever are choosing retail pharmacies for care rather than going to a doctor’s office. Their primary reasons for this are cost and convenience.8
Receiving a flu shot from a physician can be more costly and require an appointment to be scheduled, so people who choose to get a flu shot at a pharmacy typically pay less and can get the vaccination while running routine errands.2 Thanks to this, pharmacies in drugstores and supermarkets have become some of the most popular options for adults to receive their annual flu shot, now representing 25 percent of all flu vaccinations.6
Many pharmacy chains offer flu shots at affordable prices during flu season, and some even offer them for free. Walgreens, for example, partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide more than 400,000 free flu shot vouchers for the 2014-2015 flu season, a value totaling over $10 million, to customers who don’t have health insurance or whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the vaccinations.7 Even when not offered free, pharmacies are often a more accessible option for people who are uninsured or underinsured, and are part of the advancing modern health care landscape that provides better coverage for more people.3
Today, pharmacies in supermarkets and drugstores provide convenient, low-cost basic primary care treatment, including administering influenza vaccinations.3 Having as many options as possible to provide flu shots every year provides tremendous advantages to communities’.4 From a public health perspective, the option of getting vaccinated at pharmacies has provided new and better choices for people during flu seasons. The nurse practitioners and physician assistants that are typically employed in retail pharmacies and handling most patient interactions are trained to provide basic primary care, like vaccinations, that their customers need.3 Health officials believe that national influenza vaccination rates, which typically hover around 40 percent, will improve as more expedient options become available.5
What is Next for Retail Pharmacies?
In the future, retail pharmacies will evolve to offer customers even more options for flu shots that are faster, safer and more comfortable, using the latest technology in vaccine administration. For example, pharmacies can use PharmaJet’s Needle-Free Injector to deliver the flu shot. This alternative, can significantly reduce patient fear and anxiety associated with getting an injection, while eliminating needle stick injuries to the pharmacists or health care workers. The PharmaJet injection system provides major benefits to pharmacies by reducing the need for sharps disposal and minimizing the possibility of cross-contamination. Drugstore and supermarket pharmacies that provide PharmaJet’s needle-free flu shots are able to attract new customers who are seeking a convenient and more comfortable way to get their annual flu shot.
Pharmacies can contact PharmaJet today to find out how to bring needle-free flu shots to their locations nationwide for the 2015-2016 flu season.
- “Vaccinations: The Expanding Role of Pharmacists.” Pharmacy Times. Web.
- “Pharmacies Inject Convenience Into Flu Shot Market.” NPR. Web.
- “The Value Proposition of Retail Clinics.” RWJF.org. Web.
- “Many Pharmacists Now Administer Vaccinations.” NPR. Web.
- “Flu Shots at the Pharmacy: What You Need to Know.” TIME. Web.
- “Place of Flu Vaccination — Early 2014-2015 Season.” CDC NIS & NIFS.
- “Walgreens to Provide More Than 400,000 Free Flu Shot Vouchers to Help Protect Uninsured and Underinsured Americans During Flu Season.” Walgreens.com. Web.
- “Consumers Turn to Retail Clinics for Convenience, Affordability.” Fierce Healthcare. Web.