Pharmacies Dominate Influenza Prevention in 2023
Over the past few years, around 60% of vaccination during flu season took place at local pharmacies, which were rated very high in a July 2023 survey.
More than half of respondents confirmed that pharmacies are easy to access and time efficient to get an annual flu shot.
And based on new services announced by Walgreens, this percentage may increase during the 2023-2024 flu season in the U.S.
Walgreens' new services, announced on August 16, 2023, empower communities to get ahead of respiratory virus season with accessible vaccination, testing, and treatment all in one convenient pharmacy.
These new services include but are not limited to, getting tested for COVID-19 and influenza A and B by a pharmacist via a single swab, with results delivered within 30 minutes.
Enhanced flu shot appointment scheduling, either in a pharmacy or off-site in the local community.
Additionally, Walgreens recently announced it will offer respiratory syncytial virus vaccination appointments this fall.
"These insights demonstrate that people recognize pharmacies as a convenient and easy place to receive vaccinations," said Kevin Ban, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Walgreens, in a company press release.
"To meet this demand, we are removing friction to help keep our communities protected this fall (2023)."
"Our expert pharmacists are prepared to ensure everyone gets the appropriate prevention, testing, or treatment they need this season through offerings such as our in-store vouchers for employees or new, low-cost 2 results in 1 test for COVID-19 and flu."
Previously, a report published by the Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) and IQVIA found that in 2020 and 2021, pharmacists provided more recommended routine vaccinations than physicians.
The GHLF/IQVIA report found an increase in adult vaccines administered at pharmacies compared with non-pharmacy settings between 2020 and 2021. Most adult COVID-19 and shingles vaccinations took place at pharmacies, and around 60% of vaccination during flu season took place at pharmacies.
And pneumococcal vaccine administration, which tends to correlate with influenza vaccination, also increased at pharmacies.
Furthermore, this year's influenza vaccine may match the 173 million vaccinations delivered last flu season.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu shots for most people over six months, beginning in September.
And the CDC continues to recommend vaccination as long as flu viruses pose a threat. During some seasons, that can be as late as May or June.
Moreover, international travelers may need a flu shot when visiting a high-risk country in 2023.
As the flu season approaches the U.S., these data indicate pharmacists are ready and capable to meet consumer demand in 2023.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is an integrated healthcare, pharmacy, and retail leader, operating nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.