Research Alert: November 26, 2018

Update: Rural/Urban Disparities in Pneumococcal Vaccine Service Delivery Among the Fee-for-Service Medicare Population, 2012-2015

In this study we evaluate trends in pneumococcal vaccination service delivery for the years 2012 through 2015, specifically assessing uptake of the PCV13 in 2015, the first full year following the revised vaccination recommendations in September 2014. We also determine the relative contribution of community pharmacies as an alternate site vaccine service provider to PCV13 uptake in rural communities.

The number and rate of pneumococcal vaccination services delivered by fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare providers to eligible beneficiaries (both rural and urban) increased annually between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, pneumococcal vaccine services were delivered by providers to approximately 5,353,000 FFS beneficiaries representing 16% of the FFS population nationwide, a 380% increase over that reported in 2014. We estimate that 92% of those vaccines administered in 2015 to FFS beneficiaries were PCV13. There were continued disparities in pneumococcal vaccine service delivery between rural and urban communities with an estimated 10.7% of FFS beneficiaries receiving pneumococcal vaccination services in rural communities compared to 17.4% in urban, a 63% higher vaccination rate in urban communities.

Primary care providers delivered the majority (72.2%) of pneumococcal vaccination services to FFS Medicare beneficiaries in 2015, while pharmacy providers accounted for one-fourth. The proportion of pneumococcal vaccines delivered by pharmacists in rural areas increased from 19.9% in 2012 to 33.5% in 2015 but only modestly increased in urban areas (20.4% to 22.6%).

Contact Information:

Jeffery Talbert, PhD
Rural and Underserved Health Research Center
Phone: 859.323.7141

Additional Resources of Interest: