Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic recovery will require a broad and coordinated effort for infection testing, immunity determination, and vaccination. With the advent of several COVID-19 vaccines, the dissemination and delivery of COVID-19 immunization across the nation is of concern. Previous immunization delivery patterns may reveal important components of a comprehensive and sustainable effort to immunize everyone in the nation.
The delivery of vaccinations were enumerated by provider type using 2017 Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service data and the 2013-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The delivery of these services was examined at the service, physician, and visit level.
In 2017 Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service, primary care physicians provided the largest share of services for vaccinations (46%), followed closely by mass immunizers (45%), then nurse practitioners/physician assistants (NP/PAs) (5%). The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey showed that primary care physicians provided most clinical visits for vaccination (54% of all visits).
Primary care physicians have played a crucial role in delivery of vaccinations to the US population, including the elderly, between 2012-2017. These findings indicate primary care practices may be a crucial element of vaccine counseling and delivery in the upcoming COVID-19 recovery and immunization efforts in the United States.