Introduction: During an influenza epidemic, where early vaccination is crucial, pharmacies may be a resource to increase vaccine distribution reach and capacity. Methods: We utilized an agent-based model of the US and a clinical and economics outcomes model to simulate the impact of different influenza epidemics and the impact of utilizing pharmacies in addition to traditional (hospitals, clinic/physician offices, and urgent care centers) locations for vaccination for the year 2017. Results: For an epidemic with a reproductive rate (R0) of 1.30, adding pharmacies with typical business hours averted 11.9 million symptomatic influenza cases, 23,577 to 94,307 deaths, $1.0 billion in direct (vaccine administration and healthcare) costs, $4.2–44.4 billion in productivity losses, and $5.2–45.3 billion in overall costs (varying with mortality rate). Increasing the epidemic severity (R0 of 1.63), averted 16.0 million symptomatic influenza cases, 35,407 to 141,625 deaths, $1.9 billion in direct costs, $6.0–65.5 billion in productivity losses, and $7.8–67.3 billion in overall costs (varying with mortality rate). Extending pharmacy hours averted up to 16.5 million symptomatic influenza cases, 145,278 deaths, $1.9 billion direct costs, $4.1 billion in productivity loss, and $69.5 billion in overall costs. Adding pharmacies resulted in a cost-benefit of $4.1 to $11.5 billion, varying epidemic severity, mortality rate, pharmacy hours, location vaccination rate, and delay in the availability of the vaccine. Conclusions: Administering vaccines through pharmacies in addition to traditional locations in the event of an epidemic can increase vaccination coverage, mitigating up to 23.7 million symptomatic influenza cases, providing cost-savings up to $2.8 billion to third-party payers and $99.8 billion to society. Pharmacies should be considered as points of dispensing epidemic vaccines in addition to traditional settings as soon as vaccines become available.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases