Growth of Retail Clinics in Vaccination Delivery in the U.S.

Published In: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, v. 43, no. 1, July 2012, p. 63-66

Posted on RAND.org on July 01, 2012

by Lori Uscher-Pines, Katherine M. Harris, Rachel M. Burns, Ateev Mehrotra

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Research Questions

  1. How many vaccinations were delivered at the largest retail clinic chains from 2007 through 2009?
  2. What percentage of retail clinic visits included vaccinations?
  3. Which vaccinations were the most common?

BACKGROUND: Retail clinics are a promising venue in which to promote and administer vaccinations; however, little is known about who receives vaccinations at a retail clinic. PURPOSE: The aim of this paper was to describe the use of retail clinics in the delivery of recommended vaccinations. METHODS: The three largest retail clinic operators in the U.S.-MinuteClinic, TakeCare, and LittleClinic-provided de-identified clinic data for 2007-2009. Descriptive statistics were generated in 2011 on visit type, type of vaccination, patient age, and payment method. RESULTS: From 2007 to 2009, there were 8.9 million retail clinic visits across the three largest clinic operators. In 2009, vaccinations were administered at 1,952,610 visits, up from 469,330 visits in 2007. Visits in which vaccinations were administered accounted for 39.9%, 36.4%, and 42.0% of total visits in 2007, 2008, and 2009, respectively. In 2009, 1.8 million influenza vaccinations (including seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations) were administered by the two largest retail clinic operators (94% of all vaccination visits). Pneumococcal vaccination was administered at 59,849 visits (3% of all vaccination visits). In 2009, vaccinations were also administered in 0.8% of acute care visits (n=18,807); 0.8% of chronic care visits (n=261); and 1.3% of general medical exams (n=2497). CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that retail clinics play a growing role in vaccination delivery, and vaccinations constitute a substantial share of the business conducted by retail clinics. As such, retail clinics have the potential to play an important role in vaccination delivery in the U.S. Retail clinics potentially could deliver more vaccinations if they reviewed vaccination histories and counseled patients regarding the benefits of vaccination during acute care visits.

Key Findings

Retail clinics are popular venues for vaccination administration.

  • In 2009, vaccinations were administered at more than 1.9 million visits to the three largest retail clinic chains, up from approximately 470,000 in 2007.
  • Visits in which vaccinations were administered accounted for 40, 36, and 42 percent of total visits in 2007, 2008, and 2009, respectively.

Vaccinations for influenza were the most common type.

  • In 2009, 1.8 million influenza vaccinations (including those for seasonal and H1N1) were administered by the two largest retail clinic operators (94 percent of all vaccination visits).

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