The most important factors in deciding whether or not to stock adult vaccines were found to be economic in nature, according to findings from an online survey completed by healthcare professionals.

To better understand the reasons why healthcare professionals decide whether or not to stock adult vaccines, researchers distributed an online best-worst scaling survey to US healthcare professionals involved in vaccine stocking decisions between February and April 2018. Focus groups as well as key informant interviews were used to develop the 16 potential factors that influence decisions related to vaccine stocking. 

Respondents (N=125) were asked to select the factors that they considered to be the most important and least important with regard to stocking of vaccines, to report which vaccines their practice currently stocks, and to explain the reasons for not stocking other specific vaccines. “Subgroup analyses were performed based on the respondent’s involvement in vaccine decision making, role in the organization, specialty, and affiliation status, as well as practice characteristics such as practice size, insurance mix, and patient age mix,” the authors explained.

Findings of the analysis revealed economic factors to have the biggest influence on vaccine stocking decision making. The highest relative importance scores for vaccine stocking were reported to be “cost of purchasing vaccine stock,” “expense of maintaining vaccine inventory,” followed by “lack of adequate reimbursement for vaccine acquisition and administration.” 

The analysis also showed a wide variation in the stocking rates of vaccines. The most common vaccines stocked were reported to be influenza (97% of respondents), tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (83%), and pneumococcal polysaccharide (70%). Meningococcal B was found to be the least common vaccine stocked (39%). The authors also reported that the results of the survey were consistent across subgroups. They did note, however, that the type of vaccines stocked varied depending on practice type.

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“This new study finds that financial barriers are reported as the most important issues influencing decisions about which vaccines to stock among a wide range of providers, including pharmacists and OB/GYN physicians,” the study authors concluded. They added, “Efforts to reduce the actual and perceived risks of insurance claim rejection and address issues of vaccine payment adequacy might help encourage more providers to stock the full complement of routinely recommended vaccines for their adult patients.”

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