According to CIDRAP, the recent National Influenza Vaccine Summit led to some heated discussion over where patients receive their flu vaccine – public health clinics, personal physician, or alternative vaccination sites such as grocery stores, workplaces, pharmacies. Some physicians argue that alternative sites leads to fragmentation of health care and steers patients away from their “medical home”
One of the basic problems is who gets vaccine early and who has vaccine left when flu peaks late in the season. Primary care physicians argue that the alternative sites get vaccine first and their patients are tempted to go elsewhere for vaccination. In 15 of the past 25 flu seasons in the U.S. flu peaked in February or March and it is hard to locate providers with vaccine late in the season.
The summit was attended by many participants in the vaccination process such as manufacturers, clinicians, and public health. Hopefully this type of discussion can lead to innovative methods to improve vaccination rates.