Every year, over half of all Americans plan to get the flu shot. While the influenza vaccine has been around since the 1930s, there’s a newer vaccine taking the world by storm that you should consider offering at your pharmacy - the COVID-19 vaccine.
Offering vaccines continues to provide steady business for pharmacies all over the United States, and the immunization market is on a continued upswing as a whole. Because of this, big-name pharmacies have caught onto the trend of offering vaccines at their places of business - but unfortunately, many independent pharmacies haven’t jumped onto the bandwagon yet.
According to the NCPA, just over half of independent, community pharmacies offer immunizations at their locations - about 61% do. This number doesn’t just include the influenza vaccine or the COVID vaccine - it can range anywhere from a single flu shot to a full disease management program.
A 2017 Drug Chain Review study found that a 20% vaccination rate can drive a 6% increase in overall business - and that’s on top of the revenue generated by offering immunizations. Every independent pharmacy should offer immunizations not just for the reason of higher profit margins and increased business, but also to increase the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19.
Want More Reasons Why Vaccinations Benefit Business?
Immunizations are not only a public service - they also help to expand the business of your pharmacy in a myriad of other ways. By offering vaccines to your community, you’re promoting seasonal health and preventative care - also, those who are traveling may be interested in getting a vaccine from your pharmacy instead of heading to a big-name store.
Many people are keeping COVID safety in mind as they travel through the upcoming holiday season, and creating a place to get the vaccine in your independent pharmacy is a great way to show the community that you care. And it’s a great way to keep COVID numbers at a minimum.
By offering immunization services at your community pharmacy, you’re creating touch points for current patients. This gives you the opportunity to educate them on the risks of not only COVID, but other conditions as well - as well as allowing you to pass on important vaccine information. This is also a great opportunity for you to debunk myths circulating about the COVID vaccine and put patients at ease by undermining the rumor mill.
Ways to Remind Patients
Phone calls throughout the year are a helpful way to remind your patients about their flu shots, seasonal vaccines, and the COVID vaccine. You can also share monthly newsletters or emails that contain the clinical hours that you’ll be offering immunizations within - along with special offers and discounts.
When you send out these promotions, it’s a good idea to include blog posts on the advantages of different vaccines. Especially regarding the COVID vaccine, which a good number of people are skeptical about. Giving people the tools that they need to read up on the vaccine and trust that it won’t harm them and that it can help them strengthen their community will encourage them to want to get vaccinated.
You can also implement secure, two-way messaging to hold individual conversations with patients who might have questions about certain vaccines.
Vaccines to Offer
It’s recommended by experts that independent pharmacies who are beginning to offer immunizations should start with the flu shot and pneumococcal vaccines. After you’ve developed a consistent program, you can add vaccines like:
● Hepatitis A
● Hepatitis B
● Td and Tdap
When to Reach Out
Immunizations are a continual need that can be offered to your patients all year long, but reaching out at specific times is a way that you can make sure your patients stay informed. This also makes it more likely that they’ll come in for their vaccines.
● Seasonal vaccines:
○ Reach out before flu season (which occurs in late fall and early spring)
● Travel shots:
○ Reach out before spring break and the summer holidays.
● School shots:
○ Reach out in the middle of summer to help parents prepare their school-age children ahead of time.
Immunizations at Your Pharmacy
Offering vaccines is a way that your community pharmacy can continue to compete with the big names. You can promote your vaccinations through digital marketing and other platforms, using these mediums to educate patients while encouraging them to stay healthy and safe by getting their vaccines.
Offering vaccines will continue to improve your pharmacy and community as a whole.