Aurora, CO—Pharmacists have been authorized to provide vaccinations to adults in all 50 states in some capacity, and the scope of practice has expanded even further with federal government policy decrees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the trend is not being universally applauded. Some family doctors have complaints not so much about pharmacists providing vaccines but about information-sharing and follow-through.

A report in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), based on an ABFM survey, describes some of the concerns primary care physicians have about pharmacist-delivered vaccines.

Led by authors from Children’s Hospital Colorado, the study team sought to assess primary care physicians’ (PCPs) experiences with and attitudes about pharmacists administering vaccinations to their adult patients using an internet and mail survey.

The survey occurred in January-February 2019 and included responses from 642 PCPs representative of the American College of Physicians’ and American Academy of Family Physicians’ memberships. Slightly more than 900 surveys were sent out.

Results indicated that 98% of respondents agreed—79% strongly, 19% somewhat—that it is their responsibility to assure that their adult patients receive recommended vaccinations, even if they get them outside of their practice.

In addition, most respondents agreed that pharmacists either did not have access to patient medical information—33% strongly, 45% somewhat—or did not have adequate vaccination history—33% strongly, 41% somewhat—to determine if an adult needs a vaccination.

Most of the respondents also complained that pharmacists did not inform them when vaccinations were provided—35% strongly, 39% somewhat—and failed to enter vaccinations administered into immunization information systems (IIS)— 20% strongly, 37% somewhat.

On the other hand, 83% of the PCPs agreed—31% strongly, 52% somewhat—that it is helpful to have pharmacists share the role of vaccinating adults with physicians.

“PCPs have mixed feelings about pharmacists delivering vaccines to adults,” the authors conclude. “Universal use of IIS by pharmacists could partially address physicians’ concerns by providing a systematic way for pharmacists and physicians to share patient vaccination histories.”

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