Analysis: The Effect of Remote Immunization Screenings on Vaccine Uptake

A retrospectively analysis assessed the effect of a remote vaccination review process on vaccination status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and social distancing efforts, many individuals have forgone annual healthcare visits and avoided routine vaccinations.

Immunization screening forms filled out by patients in community pharmacies have shown to increase vaccination rates throughout pharmacies, but the pandemic has brought upon a new set of challenges for immunization practices.

At the American Pharmacists Association 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition, which was held virtually March 12-15, Lauren Maly, PharmD, PG-Y1 community pharmacy resident at West Virginia University and Kroger Health, presented the findings from a retrospective analysis aimed at determining the effect of a remote vaccination review process on vaccination status amid the pandemic. 

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“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies have aimed to limit the passing of paper to decrease disease transmission, leading to digital completion of vaccine consent forms,” Maly said. “This study seeks to demonstrate the importance of continuing immunization screenings through an alternate process during a global pandemic.”

For the analysis, the investigators evaluated the change in additional indicated vaccines as recommended by the CDC administered at the same visit as the influenza vaccine after a pharmacist’s remote review of a participant’s vaccination history. Additionally, the investigators looked at the total number of everyday vaccines administered during the 3-month time frame of the study compared with the same time frame during the 2019-2020 flu season.

The intervention of the study involved a remote vaccination review. The remote vaccination review process included the following steps:

  • Patients interested in receiving an influenza vaccine filled out a digital vaccine consent form.
  • Consent form appeared in electronic dispensing system queue.
  • Pharmacist performed vaccination review on participants, remotely.
  • Pharmacist called participant by phone to recommend indicated vaccine(s) to receive during their flu vaccine visit.

Overall, a total of 113 patients were reviewed and 108 recommendations were made. Of those recommendations, 46 everyday vaccines were given and 62 were denied. Twenty-eight participants had up-to-date vaccinations when reviewed, and therefore no recommendation was made.

The results demonstrated that everyday vaccines administered at the influenza vaccination visit increased 8.0% from 2019 to 2020, within the 3-month time frame analyzed.

Maly noted that participants mostly denied vaccine recommendations due to the following reasons:

  • Cost concerns
  • Preferring not to have multiple vaccines at the same visit
  • Insurance claims systems not operating properly
  • Having already received the recommended vaccine(s) elsewhere
  • Consultation with physician

No participant indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic was a reason or vaccine denial. According to Maly, although a high number of vaccine denials were observed, several participants were open to receive the recommended vaccine(s), but at another time.

“This project shows that a pharmacist’s remote review of vaccine histories appears to positively impact the number of additional indicated vaccines given a an influenza vaccine appointment,” Maly concluded. “These results are highly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reference

  1. Maly L, Saurborn EN, Elswick B. A retrospective analysis of the impact of a remote vaccination review process on vaccination status during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition; March 12-15, 2021; virtual.