UW school, drug stores link on pharmacy-based immunizations

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UW school, drug stores link on pharmacy-based immunizations

Pilot's goals are to increase communities' access to vaccines
Sarah C.B. Guthrie

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy, Bartell Drugs and QFC Pharmacy will partner with Washington State Health Care Authority in a unique project to increase pharmacy-based immunizations.

The immunizations include influenza, pneumococcal disease, pertussis and herpes zoster. The healthcare entities will jointly develop and implement a value-based payment model as well as mechanisms to share immunization information among the participating health plans or systems, accountable-care organizations, community pharmacies and patients. 

The grant teams also will collaborate with public health agencies to improve pandemic vaccine preparedness. 

“We are excited about this demonstration project, which brings together top community pharmacy providers and faculty from the School of Pharmacy with expertise in implementation science and population health,” said Sean D. Sullivan, professor and dean of the UW school.  

Washington state has been a U.S. leader in terms of enabling pharmacists to practice at the top of their license, in large part due to  the continued advocacy from UW faculty. Pharmacist-provided vaccines were among the first of many practice innovations begun at the UW.  

Increasingly, pharmacists are recognized as the front line of healthcare in communities. 

“Legislators and regulators at the federal and state levels often reference pharmacists’ success in promoting the necessity of vaccines and in increasing access to them,” said Steven C. Anderson, president of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which announced the project. 

Partners Bartell Drugs and QFC expressed excitement to be involved in the pilot effort.

“Bartell Drugs has been a regional leader in promoting and providing convenient, affordable access to immunizations. This project will further our ability to reach more audiences in need of immunization,” said Billy Chow, Bartell Drugs’ vice president of pharmacy operations. 

“We are thrilled to continue to improve the shopping experience and add convenience for our patients through this project,” said Chuck Paulsen, pharmacy merchandiser for QFC Stores. 

The project is one of three that aim to fulfill the goals of an $800,000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to the drug store association. The project will take place over a 13-month span, starting this month.