Maximize your vaccine program

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Expand beyond flu shots to offer immunizations year-round

In brief:

  • Most adults are missing recommended immunizations
  • Providing these immunizations is a big opportunity for independent pharmacies
  • Health Mart® helps pharmacies begin and expand vaccine programs
  • The latest vaccine recommendations offer new ways to serve patients

Missed immunizations, missed opportunities

The benefits of immunizations are well established. Yet millions of Americans aren’t getting critical vaccinations. Consider these statistics from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey:1


“Our nation’s vaccine rates are unacceptably low.”2

For independent pharmacies, missed immunizations are a missed opportunity. Per PrescribeWellness:3


To fully capture this opportunity, go beyond flu shots. Turn immunizations into a profitable year-round business that improves patients’ health.

Immunizations have one of the highest margins of clinical services that pharmacies can offer. Providing them year-round provides a stream of additional revenue, not just a seasonal bump from flu shots.

Help patients catch up on missed vaccines, and keep them current by using the information you know about a patient. Throughout the year you could be offering:

  • Herpes zoster vaccines to patients turning 50 and pneumonia vaccines for patients celebrating their 65th birthdays
  • Tdap to women during every pregnancy, and once to the future grandparents who need it
  • Td boosters to patients every 10 years4

Add travel vaccines, and each consultation and administration could bring in hundreds of dollars.5

Plus, a broad immunization program boosts the image of your pharmacy as a wellness destination, not just a place to pick up prescriptions.

Why pharmacies?

The rationale for vaccinations at pharmacies is clear:

  • Pharmacies are accessible and convenient for patients.
  • Pharmacies are already providing important community health services, including immunizations (in most states).
  • Physicians aren’t meeting all immunization needs. A 2012 survey found that less than 33% of family doctors and only 1 in 5 internists stock all 11 vaccines recommended for adults.6

Community pharmacies are an obvious and trusted place for immunizations.


Tools to get started

For pharmacies that haven’t begun an immunization program:

  • Health Mart’s Vaccine Starter Kit offers six months of expert support. Pharmacies receive help with certification, collaborative practice agreements (CPAs), billing and more.
  • The VaccineComplete program give-your-pharmacy-a-vaccine-boosteridentifies patients who are eligible for vaccines, provides CPAs, makes it easy to report shots to state registries and providers, and even markets the program to patients.

A new opportunity

The 2018 recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) offer a major opportunity for pharmacies: provide Shingrix for adults 50 and older.7

Shingrix is a new herpes zoster vaccine. It is extremely effective, at 97% overall. As a result, ACIP recommends Shingrix even for patients who previously received Zostavax, which is only 51% effective.


For independent pharmacies, there is significant opportunity in immunizations. To realize this opportunity, understand all of the immunizations that your patients require. Stay up to date with the latest recommendations. And make immunizations a year-round program.

You will immunize your business and make your pharmacy’s bottom line healthier.

Note: The information provided here is for reference use only and does not constitute the rendering of legal or other professional advice by McKesson. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for advice and assistance prior to making important decisions regarding their business. McKesson is not advocating any particular program or approach herein. McKesson is not responsible for, nor will it bear any liability

1 “Vaccination Coverage Among Adults in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2016,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feb. 26, 2018. LINK
2 “Are State Laws Preventing Pharmacists From Improving Immunization Rates?,” Don Ward Hackett,Precision Vaccines, April 19, 2018. LINK
3 “Time to Care—Collaborative Practice Agreements, 2016,” PrescribeWellness, June 27, 2018. LINK
4 “Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older, United States, 2018,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 5, 2018. LINK
5 “Defining Your Pharmacy as a Wellness Destination,” John Fiacco, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feb. 26, 2018. LINK
6 “Are State Laws Preventing Pharmacists From Improving Immunization Rates?,” Don Ward Hackett, Precision Vaccines, April 19, 2018. LINK
7 “Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccination Information for Healthcare Providers,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 6, 2018. LINK
8From presentation at ideaShare 2018 by Miranda Wilhelm, Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Southern Illinois University