Gauging Pharmacists’ Comfort Immunizing Young Children

Recent changes in regulations mean that pharmacists are able to administer vaccines to children as young as 3.

In recent years, regulations have been changed to allow pharmacists to provide vaccinations to children as young as 3 years of age. However, some may be hesitant to do so, according to a poster1 presented at the APhA 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition, held in San Antonio, Texas, that assessed the perception and satisfaction with administering immunizations to young children.

Investigators created a 17-question questionnaire that was emailed to pharmacists in the Pharmacist Moms Facebook group, the Arkansas Pharmacists State organization, and the Pediatric Pharmacy Association National Organization. Respondents had a 21-day period to respond.

More than half of the 130 respondents had administered at least 1 pediatric immunization. Although nearly half of respondents said that they were confident in immunizing a young child, 1 in 3 felt either “somewhat” or “very” uncomfortable doing so. Many respondents indicated some level of confidence in their training: 12.3% felt very confident; 27.7% were fairly confident; 12.3% felt somewhat confident; and 13.8% said that they did not feel confident at all. Nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed that administering vaccines to the age group had a positive impact on the practice of pharmacy.

Pharmacists were also asked about their best practices for interacting with the child and parent during vaccine administration; responses included the offering some sort of small reward, such as a sticker postvaccination; using a distraction like coloring; using an item to stop the pain such as a numbing cream or the Buzzy Bee device; and creating a connection with both the child and parent.

Some concerns identified in survey responses included survey included feeling that it’s not appropriate administer pediatric vaccines in the fast-paced environment of community pharmacy. Others worried about the lack of privacy and lack of staffing, while others still cited patient tantrums over the vaccine, a lack of training, and a lack of experiencing providing vaccinations in the population as obstacles.

Investigators suggested that training could improve comfort and confidence levels, as well as designating 1 pharmacist for pediatric immunizations.

Reference

1. Best P, Hiland S, Seiler D, Smith M. Pharmacist hesitancy and satisfaction with administering pediatric immunizations (ages 3-7) in the community setting. Poster presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition; May 18-21, 2022; San Antonio, TX.