HealthDay News — Nearly one-third of adults immunized in clinics at a national community pharmacy chain received vaccines during off-clinic hours, researchers found.
Among 6,250,402 vaccinations administered at Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinics during a one-year period, 30.5% were given outside the traditional business weekday hours of 9 am to 6 pm, Jeffery A. Goad, PharmD, MPH, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues reported in Annals of Family Medicine.
Most of these patients were younger, working-aged, otherwise healthy adults, and opted to visit the clinic on weekends (17.4%), weekday evenings (10.2%) and federal holidays (2.9%).
“With the low rates of adult and adolescent vaccination in the United States, community pharmacies are creating new opportunities for vaccination that expand access and convenience,” the researchers wrote.
As many as 50,000 U.S. adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. To better understand patient populations most likely to utilize nontraditional settings to get vaccinated, Goad and colleagues retrospectively reviewed data for all vaccines administered at the Walgreens’ community pharmacy chain from August 2011 to July 2012. Traditional clinic hours were defined as 9am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.
Off-clinic vaccination was significantly more likely among male patients without any chronic conditions, who were younger than 65 years of age and resided in an urban area, the researchers determined using logistic regression models.
“Most traditional vaccine providers … administer vaccinations during standard clinic hours, but community pharmacies offer expanded hours that allow patients to be vaccinated at convenient times,” the researchers wrote.
“A large proportion of adults being vaccinated receive their vaccines during evening, weekend and holiday hours at the pharmacy, when traditional vaccine providers are likely unavailable.”