A new Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) study conducted in collaboration with the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and published in the September/October issue of
Annals of Family Medicine
, found that more than one-third of adults who receive vaccinations at Walgreens do so during evening, weekend and holiday hours. The study demonstrates that Walgreens pharmacies are creating new opportunities for vaccinations that can be a key driver in increasing immunization rates in the U.S.
The study, titled “Vaccinations Administered during Off-Clinic Hours at a National Community Pharmacy: Implications for Increasing Patient Access and Convenience,” analyzed the more than 6 million flu shots administered by Walgreens pharmacists between August 2011 and July 2012. The study also found that the patients who most likely received vaccinations during these times were younger (less than 65 years old), male, residing in urban areas and without chronic conditions – groups with historically lower vaccination rates.
“This study clearly underscores the valuable role that our community pharmacies can play in providing greater access to vaccines, which can be a key contributor to better immunization rates,” said study author Michael Taitel, PhD, Walgreens senior director of clinical outcomes and analytic services. “In addition to flu shots, Walgreens pharmacies in most states offer a full range of 17 vaccines recommended by the CDC. By offering vaccinations every day and in many stores 24-hours a day, with no appointment necessary, we’re helping more people get, stay and live well.”
Approximately 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. every year,
and approximately 23,000
of these are influenza-associated deaths. Adult influenza vaccination rates vary, but average approximately 40 percent, despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
Jeffrey Goad, Pharm.D, MPH, associate professor and vice chair at University of Southern California and lead study author added, “This research, coupled with the existing literature, supports that expanded off-clinic vaccination offerings could measurably increase immunization rates in the US. It also suggests that the positive impact could be even more significant if the ability of pharmacists to administer all CDC recommended vaccines, as well as, Food and Drug Administration approved travel vaccines, was expanded in all states.”