To explore pharmacists’ views and experiences of pharmacist-administered vaccinations, motivators and barriers to pharmacists administering vaccinations and their preferences for expansions to such services.
All practising pharmacist members (n = 3400) of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand were invited to participate in an online survey in 2017.
A total of 468 pharmacists completed the survey (14%). Most (86%) strongly agreed/agreed that pharmacists should provide vaccinations, primarily citing patient benefit, for example, convenience, potential for increased vaccination uptake, easing general practice burden and better utilisation of the pharmacist. Half had completed vaccinator training, mainly for professional satisfaction, to help public or community health and/or to provide a new service for their community. Trained pharmacists had administered influenza (95%), pertussis (47%), zoster (45%) and/or meningococcal vaccines (13%), with patient cost limiting some vaccination uptake. Cost or workplace constraints were leading reasons for the 17% not planning to undertake vaccinator training. Key barriers for pharmacy owners not offering vaccinations were set-up or other costs, insufficient funding (62%) or staffing/time concerns (27%). Some trained vaccinators (39%) wanted the recipient age lowered below 13 years, and 44% wanted intern pharmacists to be able to administer vaccinations.
This study found strong support for this service, including benefits for patients, and for customer relationships. Identified barriers including service setup and patient costs could be reduced by expanding the categories (e.g. pharmacy students and technicians) of staff able to vaccinate and having more government funded vaccines available through pharmacies, therefore, improving access for patients.