Beyond the most obvious impetus for providing vaccines at the retail pharmacy level — it protects the public’s health by providing a more convenient option than making an appointment with the doctor — it also might help save money for employers.
A study recently published in the journal Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation found that when more vaccinations are administered in an alternate setting, such as a pharmacy, employers realize a greater cost benefit.
According to the study, in a typical U.S. population, an influenza immunization program will be cost-beneficial for employers when more than 37% of individuals receive vaccines in nontraditional settings, such as pharmacies. In a scenario where 50% of persons are vaccinated in nontraditional settings, estimated net savings were $6 per vaccinated employee or dependent. And immunization programs limited to a pharmacy setting produce an estimated net savings or $31 per vaccinated member.
“Although annual influenza vaccination could decrease the significant economic and humanistic burden of influenza in the United States, immunization rates are below recommended levels, and concerns remain [about] whether immunization programs can be cost-beneficial,” stated Ian Duncan, the study’s lead author. “Both universal and targeted vaccination programs can be cost-beneficial. Proper planning with cost models can help employers and policy-makers develop strategies to improve the impact of immunization programs.”