Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pharmacy-based Immunization in Rural USA: a cross-sectional study of community pharmacists from five Southeastern States
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Background: Immunization rates for seasonal and non-seasonal vaccines dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known about the extent to which community pharmacies continue to serve as immunization sites during the pandemic. Objective: To explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pharmacy-based immunization services in rural USA. Methods: A cross-sectional design through self-administered web/paper questionnaires from May-August 2021. The 86 participants work at rural pharmacies from five Southeastern states. Results and Implications: Vaccines available in 2019 were also offered in 2020 with no noticeable differences in vaccines average doses. 79.1% of pharmacists received a COVID-19 vaccine. 74.4% were willing to recommend a COVID-19 vaccine to family, and 76.6%, and 78.8% were willing to recommend and administer a vaccine to patients, respectively. Pharmacies adopted several measures to ensure safety and continuity of immunization services during the pandemic. Results highlight community pharmacies’ role in immunization practice and pandemic response in rural areas.