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Ann Fam Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;8(6):507-10. doi: 10.1370/afm.1185.

Vaccines provided by family physicians.

Author information

  • 1Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA. dougco@email.arizona.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study was conducted to document current immunization practices by family physicians.

METHODS:

In 2008 the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) conducted a survey among a random sample of 2,000 of its members who reported spending 80% or more of their time in direct patient care. The survey consisted of questions regarding the demographics of the practice, vaccines that are provided at the physicians' clinical site, whether the practice refers patients elsewhere for vaccines, and participation in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

RESULTS:

The response rate was 38.5%, 31.8% after non-office-based respondents were deleted. A high proportion of respondents (80% or more) reported providing most routinely recommended child, adolescent, and adult vaccines at their practice sites. The exceptions were rotavirus vaccine for children and herpes zoster vaccine for adults., A significant proportion, however, reported referring elsewhere for some vaccines (44.1% for children and adolescent vaccines and 53.5% for adult vaccines), with the most frequent referral location being a public health department. A higher proportion of solo and 2-physician practices than larger practices reported referring patients. A lack of adequate payment was listed as the reason for referring patients elsewhere for vaccines by one-half of those who refer patients. One-half of responders do not participate in the VFC program.

CONCLUSIONS:

Provision of recommended vaccines by most family physicians remains an important service. Smaller practices have more difficulty offering a full array of vaccine products, and lack of adequate payment contributes to referring patients outside the medical home. The reasons behind the lack of participation in the VFC program deserve further study.

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