Encouraging pharmacists to talk to patients about vaccines can drastically reduce the number of people affected by influenza each year, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have analyzed the effects of a $ 15 consultation fee for pharmacists to consult a patient aged 65 or over and found that in Ontario they could avoid about 2,400 cases of influenza each year.
"Given the high level of interactions that pharmacists have with this vulnerable age group, encouraging such discussions at the community level can greatly reduce the number of elderly people affected by the disease," said Dr. Gokul Raj Pullagura, PhD candidate and lead author of the study. study, released Wednesday and published in the Journal of the American Association of Pharmacists.
The team used computer modeling to examine the cost-effectiveness of a $ 15 influenza consultation fee for community pharmacists, balancing the cost of any resulting vaccination and the savings from any avoided hospital visits.
The findings suggest that such a rate, in addition to the current compensation for vaccine administration, would cost about $ 2 more per person for the government to establish, but it would save the major costs of hospitalization.
"Considering our current method of encouraging people to get the flu vaccine is resulting in low vaccination rates, using pharmacists to their full potential could be an economical way to achieve our goals," said Pullagura.
According to Health Canada, influenza causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.
BC's Center for Disease Control distributes around 1.5 million doses of flu vaccine every year, free to residents. Authorized pharmacists have been able to administer vaccines to people five years of age or older since 2009.