US Pharm. 2024;49(4):14.

Vaccination is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health strategies for protection against numerous infectious diseases. Over the past two decades, approximately 37 million deaths have been averted worldwide as a result of active immunity acquired through the introduction of killed or weakened forms of infective agents via vaccination. The CDC estimates that vaccine-preventable illnesses lead to the death of 50,000 adults annually in the United States alone.

Vaccination Regulations: Pharmacists have been involved with the distribution of vaccines since the 1800s. In 1994, the first formalized training for vaccine administration by pharmacists was introduced, followed in 1996 by the launch of the American Pharmacists Association’s national vaccine certificate program for pharmacists. Several states subsequently enacted legislation to allow trained and qualified pharmacists (and, in some areas, pharmacy technicians) to administer certain vaccines. However, it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic that pharmacists were more widely recognized as key healthcare professionals involved with vaccinations. An amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in 2020 expanded the role of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and interns in U.S. vaccination efforts until December 2024.

Vaccination Settings: According to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, claims submitted by healthcare providers between 2018 and 2022 demonstrate a substantial increase in the percentage of all in-scope vaccinations administered to adults at pharmacies throughout the U.S. (from about 50% to 90%). Most notably, influenza and human papillomavirus vaccine administration rates increased by nearly 40% and 12%, respectively, at pharmacies during the same period. The number of adults receiving vaccines at pharmacies in both rural and urban areas was also found to be increasing each year across the country. These trends were generally irrespective of gender, race, and income.

Vaccination Considerations: Pharmacists have a vital role in the prevention of many infectious diseases for which vaccinations are available. More than 90% of the U.S. population resides within 5 miles of a pharmacy, highlighting the accessibility of pharmacists and the healthcare services they may provide, especially in underserved communities. Pharmacists can educate the public as well as screen for and administer appropriate vaccinations to increase vaccination rates nationwide. However, adequate staffing and support, proper reimbursement, and state-specific vaccination regulations must be ensured to accompany the expanding roles of pharmacists for safe and optimal delivery of care.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

To comment on this article, contact