Access to vaccination in the Greater Poland (Poland)
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Immunization is a very effective health intervention. Moreover, the global vaccines market has been growing rapidly and costs of full children immunization are dramatically higher nowadays than 30 years ago. High vaccine prices may limit affordability of vaccination which is why we attempted an evaluation of availability and affordability of 7 and non-reimbursed vaccines mostly used in children in Poland. The study was conducted between October 2016 and October 2017 using a specially designed anonymous questionnaire comprising three closed-ended questions. The study tool was distributed by direct contact or via the Internet. Eventually, answers from 505 pharmacies from the Greater Poland region and 10 primary care clinics were included. 5 out of 7 vaccines were available in all types of facilities. There were some issues, however, with availability of Bexsero® and Nimenrix®. Considering prices, the highest difference (of more than 100%) was found for Infanrix hexa® and the lowest (38.5%), for Infanrix IPV+HIB®. In 88.17% of pharmacies included, patients were informed about a thermo-insulating package. 48.39% of respondents indicated that such package is free of charge, while in other pharmacies an average price for the package was EUR 0.48. Although availability and affordability of medicines are crucial objectives of the public health policy, it seems that access to vaccines in Poland might be an area for improvement. Thus, prices of non-reimbursed vaccines could be regulated in Poland nationwide. Moreover, to provide trustworthy information concerning vaccination, healthcare decision makers should consider social education about immunization as an important issue.
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