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Immunization, vaccines, pharmacists, experiences, practices
Background: Vaccination rates remain suboptimal in multiple areas around the world in spite of evidence that immunization is one of the most effective interventions for precluding morbidity and mortality. Non-traditional vaccine providers are proposed to augment immunization coverage. Pharmacists can have multiple vital roles to educate, facilitate and immunize against vaccine-preventable diseases. Limited data are available around the expertise and practices of Lebanese pharmacists in providing immunization services.
Objective: This study aimed to determine predictors that are associated with vaccine administration by pharmacists in Lebanon, and to assess experiences and practices in providing immunization.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that included pharmacists from all over Lebanon. A web-based self-administered validated questionnaire was adapted with permission. A snowball sampling technique was used to collect data through an electronic self-administered questionnaire between March and June 2021. The web-link to the survey was also shared by the Order of Pharmacists of Lebanon with all registered pharmacists to gather a sample from different districts all over Lebanon.
Results: A total of 315 pharmacists were included. A significant positive association was found between completion of an immunization training program (ORa = 2.085, [95%CI 1.006:4.322], P = 0.048), full-time pharmacists (ORa = 2.504, [95%CI 1.156:5.426], P = 0.02), 1 to 4 years of practice experience (ORa = 3.855, [95%CI 1.849:8.039], P < 0.0001), geographic area of practice (ORa = 3.201, [95%CI 1.242:8.249], P = 0.016; ORa = 5.373, [95%CI 1.859:15.530], P = 0.002 for Beirut and Mount Lebanon respectively), educating the public about immunization (ORa = 3.012, [95%CI 1.281:7.083], P = 0.011); and vaccine administration.
Conclusion: The study highlights the need for additional immunization training programs to pharmacists to expand their ability and role as immunizers. It also provides intuition for policy makers to upgrade legislation relating to pharmacy continuing education and immunization training in order to enable pharmacists to have a greater role in direct vaccination.