JAPhA study: Pharmacists’ presence in neighborhoods boosts influenza vaccination rates

Impact most notable in Hispanic communities

Adults in neighborhoods where there is a strong pharmacy presence are more likely to get annual influenza vaccinations, say researchers in a study published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

In the study, researchers accessed vaccination data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a database of information collected by CDC via telephone surveys of adults throughout the United States. They also accessed county data about health facilities, health professions, and socioeconomic and environmental characteristics from the 2010 Area Health Resources Files, a database of information collected from groups like the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the National Center for Health Statistics. The researchers then merged their data to evaluate the demographic characteristics of adults who answered affirmatively to a BRFSS question about having received an influenza vaccination in the prior 12 months and compared those characteristics with the number of pharmacists per 1,000 people in a county.

The researchers found that for every one pharmacist increase per 1,000 people in a county, adults were 13% more likely to have received an influenza vaccination. Pharmacists’ presence had the greatest impact on Hispanic populations, where the likelihood of being vaccinated increased 35%, followed by a 6% increase for nonHispanic whites. Likelihood of vaccination did not significantly increase for other ethnic or racial populations, however.

The researchers concluded that “Based on a nationally representative sample, we found that pharmacist density was significantly associated with individual influenza vaccination after controlling for individual socioeconomic factors, demographics, and health status as well as county-level attributes.”