The Role of the Pharmacist in Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

Yvette C. Terrie, BS Pharm, RPh


US Pharmacist. 2021;46(4):28-31. 

In This Article

Barriers to Vaccination

Barriers to vaccination may be classified as personal, provider-related, or health-system related. According to a report by the CDC, factors that may contribute to low vaccination rates in adults include the following:[27]

  • Inadequate public awareness about adult vaccinations

  • Misinformation about vaccines

  • Absence of vaccine requirements for adults

  • Disparities in integration of routine evaluation to assess vaccine needs and recommendations for adults during routine healthcare visits

  • The expense of stocking vaccines in offices

  • Providing vaccination services, inadequate and/or varying payment for vaccines, and vaccine administration

  • Complications in how adult vaccinations are compensated by private as well as public insurers, lack of health insurance and limited funding for programs to vaccinate uninsured adults, and acute medical care taking priority over preventive services

Results from a recently published study added several reasons for hesitancy about vaccines. Although parents and patients had several concerns about vaccine safety, worries about adjuvants like aluminum, preservatives like mercury, and inactivating agents like formaldehyde were common.[22] The results also indicated that patients/parents often have concerns about manufacturing residuals, such as human or animal DNA fragments, and also that the large number of vaccines administered might be overpowering or disturbing the immune system.[22] As a result of these concerns, some parents/caregivers fear that vaccines may contribute to the development of autism, diabetes, developmental delays, hyperactivity, and attention-deficit disorders as well as other complications.[22] The authors indicated that it is important for healthcare providers to address patient concerns and to assure patients that vaccines are a safe and effective means of preventing certain diseases.[22]