University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Comparison of Attitudes of Wisconsin Health Care Providers and Pharmacists Toward Vaccine Administration and Perceived Barriers

George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh; Inez Pabian, PharmD; Karen J. MacKinnon, BPharm, RPh; Sarah E. Sorum, PharmD; Erica Martin, BS; Rebecca S. Bernstein, MD, MS; Lisa E. Rein, ScM; Kenneth Schellhase, MD, MPH

WMJ. 2020;119(3):151-157.

Download full text pdf.

Earn Continuing Education Credit. 


Objective: To measure the attitudes of pharmacists and other health care providers towards vaccine administration, overall acceptance of pharmacists as immunization providers, and perceived immunization barriers in Wisconsin.

Methods: The authors conducted a cross sectional study utilizing an online survey to assess the attitudes of pharmacists and other health care providers toward their role as immunization providers and perceived barriers to providing immunizations. The survey was distributed to between November 2018 and February 2019.

Results: Two hundred thirty-six pharmacists and 51 other health care providers completed the survey. Of the pharmacists who responded, 203 (86%) provided immunizations. Most respondents (97.9% of pharmacists and 90.2% of other health care providers) see vaccinations as a shared professional responsibility. Both pharmacists (82.6%) and other health care providers (79.6%) believe pharmacists have adequate training to administer vaccines to patients. Immunizing pharmacists identified 2 primary barriers to providing immunizations: patients refusing vaccines for financial reasons (55%) and patients not having insurance coverage for vaccines received in a pharmacy (55%). In contrast, the primary barrier identified by non-immunizing pharmacists is other responsibilities taking precedence over vaccinating (75%). Other health care providers identified determining whether their patients’ insurance will reimburse for a vaccine (52%) as their primary barrier toward providing immunizations.

Conclusion: These surveys provide a baseline measure of the attitudes of Wisconsin pharmacists and other health care providers toward immunization provision and offer opportunities for comparison. Our findings highlight barriers, such as insurance coverage for immunizations, that may prevent pharmacists from increasing vaccination rates in Wisconsin.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) School of Pharmacy, Milwaukee, Wis (Pabian, KJ MacKinnon); Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis (Sorum, Martin); Department of Family and Community Medicine, MCW, Milwaukee, Wis (GE MacKinnon, Bernstein, Schellhase); Institute for Health Equity, MCW, Milwaukee, Wis (GE MacKinnon, Rein).
Corresponding Author: George E. MacKinnon, III, PhD, MS, RPh, Founding Dean and Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, 8701 W Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 414.955.7476; email; ORCID ID 0000-0003-2164-2873.
Acknowledgements: The authors greatly appreciate the copyediting of Brittany Callan.
Funding/Support: This project is funded wholly by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Share WMJ