Influenza Vaccine Delivery Delays from the Perspective of Primary Care Physicians


      The effects of delayed influenza vaccine delivery on primary practices are currently unknown.


      To describe, among primary care physicians nationally regarding the 2006–2007 influenza season: (1) how physicians defined influenza vaccine delay; (2) the extent of reported vaccine delays; and (3) the perceived effects of vaccine delays.


      Between March and June 2007, a total of 1268 primary care physicians nationally were surveyed.


      Survey response was 74% (n=940). The majority of physicians (79%) defined “influenza vaccine delay” as not receiving vaccine by November 1. Fifty-three percent reported a vaccine delay. Providers reported the following as effects of delays: reduced satisfaction of patients or parents in the practice (72%); decreased percentage in their practice who received the vaccination (65%); disruption of scheduling influenza clinics (55%); increased referral of patients elsewhere for vaccination (55%); and negative financial impact caused by unused vaccine (46%). Those who reported experiencing delays more often reported not meeting demand for vaccine (adjusted risk ratio [ARR]=1.83, 95% CI=1.64, 2.07); that grocery stores, retail outlets, or pharmacies had vaccine before their practices did (ARR=1.82, 95% CI=1.53, 2.26); not receiving all vaccine that was ordered (ARR=1.19, 95% CI=1.06, 1.36); and having leftover vaccine (ARR=1.17, 95% CI=1.04, 1.32).


      During the 2006–2007 influenza season, a non-shortage season, the majority of respondents reported experiencing an influenza vaccine delivery delay. Experiencing a delay was thought to decrease vaccination use, increase referrals elsewhere, and have a negative financial impact on practices. Delayed delivery of influenza vaccine is disruptive for primary care practices, and it consequently may affect vaccination coverage.
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