To demonstrate the extent to which a community pharmacy can provide influenza immunizations in communities designated as medically underserved.
This retrospective study examined the number of influenza immunizations administered and populations served in areas with limited access to health care by Walgreens pharmacies during the 2009–10 influenza season.
More than 43% of the U.S. population resides in medically underserved areas (MUAs), and our results show that Walgreens pharmacies served nearly one-half of this population. Nationwide, more than one-third of influenza immunizations were administered by pharmacies located in MUAs. In states with the highest proportion of their population in MUAs, the percentage of influenza vaccines provided in MUAs was much greater (up to 77.1%).
Community pharmacies are convenient and accessible venues at which patients can obtain seasonal influenza vaccines and other immunizations. They are well-positioned throughout the country, including in areas that are otherwise medically underserved. These factors help community pharmacists eliminate one of the most important barriers to vaccination: accessibility.