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Characteristics of patients vaccinated against influenza in physician offices versus pharmacies and predictors of vaccination location: a cross-sectional study

Waite NM, Cadarette SM, Campitelli MA, Consiglio GP, Houle SKD, Kwong JC. CMAJ Open. 2019; 21; 7(2):E421-29. Epub 2019 Jun 21. DOI: 10.9778/cmajo.20180189.


Background — Little is known about those vaccinated against influenza after pharmacists were added to the Ontario Universal Influenza Immunization Program, in 2012. Our aim was to identify characteristics of patients vaccinated against influenza and predictors of vaccination at a physician's office versus a community pharmacy.

Methods — We conducted a cross-sectional study of Ontario residents who had a record of receipt of an influenza vaccine between October and March in the 2013/14 and 2015/16 influenza seasons in Ontario using health administrative databases. We used Poisson regression models to estimate associations between baseline characteristics and the receipt of influenza vaccination in a community pharmacy. All analyses were stratified by age group (≤ 65 yr or ≥ 66 yr).

Results — Overall, we found a 7.9% decrease in vaccinations administered in 2015/16 (2 454 178) compared to 2013/14 (2 677 278). The number of patients vaccinated in community pharmacies increased between the 2 periods (757 729 [28.3%] in 2013/14 v. 859 794 [35.0%] in 2015/16). Living in nonurban areas or higher-income neighbourhoods, not identifying as an immigrant, not having a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension, and receiving a pharmacist service on the same day as the vaccination were predictors of being vaccinated in a pharmacy, regardless of age group. Among patients aged 66 or more, those who had a hospital admission in the previous year were more likely to be vaccinated in a pharmacy than in a physician's office (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.09), whereas those with higher annual medication costs were more likely to be vaccinated in a physician's office. The location of the previous season's vaccination predicted the current season's place of vaccination (age ≥ 66 yr: physician's office: adjusted IRR 0.56 [95% CI 0.56-0.57], pharmacy: adjusted IRR 2.37 [95% CI 2.35-2.39]; age ≤ 65 yr: physician's office: adjusted IRR 0.57 [95% CI 0.57-0.57], pharmacy: adjusted IRR 2.19 [95% CI 2.18-2.20]).

Interpretation — For the 2013/14 and 2015/16 influenza seasons, the influenza vaccine was administered more frequently in physician offices than in community pharmacies, but the proportion of patients vaccinated in community pharmacies increased between the 2 periods. Physicians and pharmacists can encourage patients to take advantage of the availability of influenza vaccines across various settings.

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