New Research Brief: Pharmacy Vaccination Service Availability in Nonmetropolitan Counties

By Fred Ullrich, BA and Keith Mueller, PhD

 With the authorization of vaccines for COVID-19, plans for administering those vaccinations across the United States are being implemented. The Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with 19 “large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies and regional chains” to administer the vaccine. As extensive as that network of pharmacy providers is, it does not include a number of nonmetropolitan counties. This brief uses data from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs to identify counties where there are no pharmacies capable of providing vaccination services.

Over 100 nonmetropolitan counties (n=110) with a total population of 263,007 people have no pharmacy. A much larger number of counties (n=750) do not have a retail pharmacy directly affiliated with one of the 19 HHS ‘partner’ chains/networks. An unidentifiable number of pharmacies have a third party contracting group arrangement with one of the partners and so the number of counties without a ‘partner pharmacy’ is likely lower. If pharmacies indicating that they currently provide immunization service are added to the list of identified partner pharmacies, there are still 326 nonmetropolitan counties (total population over 1.5 million people) with no pharmacy providing immunization service.

Please click here to read the brief.