The medical benefits of vaccinations are indisputable. Vaccines are the best way to safeguard communities against dangerous, preventable diseases. In addition, they also strengthen population health, increase herd immunity, and contribute to the annihilation of sicknesses that have plagued mankind for centuries.
But we already covered that. Vaccinations save lives. We’re all in agreement. But there’s more to this story.
For independent pharmacists, relationships are everything. Relationships with their patients, relationships with other providers, relationships with their communities — all are equally important. And it’s those relationships that make independent pharmacies the ideal provider for vaccinations in their communities.
So… while we covered how vaccines benefit your patients, we haven’t covered how offering vaccinations at your pharmacy benefits your patients.
So let’s do that.
How Offering Vaccinations At Your Pharmacy Helps Your Patients
“Today, more patients are receiving their vaccinations from pharmacists than other healthcare providers,” says Carmen Catizone, D.Ph., Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in a recent Consumer Reports article.
The opportunity is there. Your patients trust you. They see you more often (actually, way more often) than they see their doctor. They’ve listened to your advice. They’ve appreciated your help and your attention. Offering vaccination services to them will be doing them a favor. Don’t believe us?
Patient Benefit #1: Cheaper Than Their Physician
Studies show that vaccinations offered by pharmacies tend to be cheaper than those offered by physicians. For example, in 2018, the average cost of a shingles vaccine at a doctor’s office was $208.72. At a pharmacy, it only cost $168.50. That’s a savings of almost 20 percent. On top of that, choosing a pharmacy visit over seeing their doctor saves the patient an office visit copay at the very least.
Patient Benefit #2: More Convenient Than Their Physician
We haven’t met a pharmacist yet who required an appointment to stop by their store. People drop by a pharmacy for all sorts of reasons: to pick up prescriptions, to grab some cough medicine on their way home from work, and even to partake of some yummy fro-yo (frozen yogurt is popping up in pharmacies all over the country, and we’re not sad about it). It’s not uncanny for pharmacies to offer vaccinations to patients without an appointment (as long as a technician is available), so the convenience level is already miles ahead of the primary care physician.
Patient Benefit #3: Another Opportunity to Support You
Customer loyalty is real, particularly with independent pharmacies. If they like you and your store, they want to support it. For your patients, patronizing your pharmacy makes them feel like a part of it. And, honestly, they’re not wrong. A community pharmacy without a community isn’t much of anything — and certainly won’t last long. Providing vaccinations gives your patients another avenue to support your business. And, with most insurances, it won’t cost them much, if anything, at all.
Offering vaccinations at your pharmacy is a huge opportunity. It gives you the chance to grow and expand your business while also providing a new level of care for your patients. Different states have different regulations about which immunizations pharmacies can offer, so be sure to find out what you can offer before you make the leap.
But, seriously, make the leap.