From Tuesday, November 23, adults will be able to get vaccinated against influenza free of charge – said Wojciech Andrusiewicz, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, the day before. – Ask your doctor, ask vaccination centers to order vaccinations – he added.
More economic information on the Gazeta.pl home page
You can get vaccinated against flu for free. Expert: This puts pharmacies in a difficult position
Bartłomiej Owczarek, one of the founders of the expert website WherePoLek in an interview with Next.gazeta.pl admits that the ministry made the decision unexpectedly. “While this is obviously a good idea in principle, it puts pharmacies in a difficult position that have previously ordered the vaccine and have it on sale,” he said.
– In the previous season, flu vaccines were seen as one of the measures to reduce the health risks associated with the pandemic, hence the interest was huge and visible in the number of searches – said the expert. – However, this year, already at the beginning of September – analyzing the traffic on WherePoLek.pl – we noticed that the interest in these vaccines is even five times lower than a year ago – he adds.
The data presented by the website prove that the peak of interest in the vaccine came in October.
Number of inquiries about influenza vaccines on the website Wherepolek.pl Data and chart: Wherepolek.pl
Olga Sierpniowska, MA in pharmacy, editor of MiejscePoLek, admits in an interview with Next.gazeta.pl that pharmacists must take into account the risk of losses. – The specter of the need to dispose of flu vaccines is a difficult situation for pharmacies, not only for financial reasons. With the expectant patients in mind, pharmacists have put a lot of effort into purchasing or at least ordering these vaccines. It should be remembered that pharmacists are also strongly involved in the promotion of preventive vaccinations, including the process of vaccination against COVID-19 – he says.
– We are also constantly waiting for the possibility of having flu vaccinations in pharmacies. Unfortunately, it seems that the relevant legal regulations will be late as far as this season is concerned, as the legislative process is still pending – he adds.
Why does the government want free vaccinations? Expert: Low inventory utilization possible
The reason for introducing free flu vaccinations may be because of the large “government” supply. – The program of free flu vaccines for all 18 years and older looks like a current reaction to the low use of the preparation pool at the disposal of the Government Strategic Reserves Agency. Their number is much larger compared to the tranche intended for pharmacies – said Bartłomiej Owczarek.
He also explained what types of preparations are available in pharmacies. – At the moment, the reimbursed vaccine Vaxigrip Tetra has about 75 percent. pharmacies integrated with WherePoLek. Half of them have from 8 to almost 350 (the average is 15). Taking into account the wholesale price, in the event that none of them were sold or returned, the incurred losses could reach up to PLN 15,000. PLN in the case of the best-stocked establishments – calculated by the expert.
According to the interviewee of Gazeta.pl, the pharmacy’s right to return to wholesalers medicinal products requiring a cold chain (the so-called “refrigerator” drugs) – such as vaccines – is usually limited.
– Our contacts show that pharmacies have adopted a wait-and-see attitude to assess the effects of the program. For example, whether in practice patients will be able to easily find a date for vaccination at designated points. One of the reasons for skepticism is the lower remuneration for the vaccination point for this service (PLN 17.21) compared to, for example, vaccination against COVID-19 (PLN 61.24) – said the expert.