Despite the well-known fact that influenza vaccination is associated with major public health benefits, the rate of immunization with flu vaccine in Canada in 2012 was only 29 per cent. By 2018 that number had increased to 38 per cent, but there is still a long way to go.
By Michael Boivin, B.Sc. Pharm.
Pharmacist-provided vaccination increases access to immunization through extended hours of opening. But beyond this benefit, pharmacists can also help to increase immunization rates by educating patients about the benefits of influenza vaccination and addressing the myths many patients believe to be fact.
Influenza immunization is a great opportunity to incorporate what’s becoming a key service into your pharmacy practice.
To do it right, follow these 5 key steps:
- Invest in training and make sure to get buy-in from staff before embarking on a flu immunization program.
- Know your targets and ACTIVELY approach them. Even if you miss them this year, patients will know you offer the service and may come back for it next year.
- Evaluate and modify delivery of the service to maximize profitability and workflow.
- Determine the delivery model that works best for you and your pharmacy.
- Use influenza immunization as a stepping stone to other expanded services – for instance, herpes zoster vaccine for patients ≥ 50 years of age; HPV for women up to 45 years or in male patients; other publically funded immunization (e.g., in British Columbia); travel health.
Adding influenza, and other, immunization is a great opportunity to add a service that’s PAID for by patients and that offers the potential to attract new patients.