INTRODUCTION: Vaccinations are recommended to prevent serious morbidity and mortality. However, providers' concerns regarding costs and payments for providing vaccination services are commonly reported barriers to adult vaccination. Information on the costs of providing vaccination is limited, especially for adults.
METHODS: We recruited 4 internal medicine, 4 family medicine, 2 pediatric, 2 obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) practices, and 2 community health clinics in North Carolina to participate in a study to assess the economic costs and benefits of providing vaccination services for adults and children. We conducted a time-motion assessment of vaccination-related activities in the provider office and a survey to providers on vaccine management costs. We estimated mean cost per vaccination, minimum and maximum payments received, and income.
RESULTS: Across all provider settings, mean cost per vaccine administration was $14 with substantial variation by practice setting (pediatric: $10; community health clinics: $15; family medicine: $17; OBGYN: $23; internal medicine: $23). When receiving the maximum payment, all provider settings had positive income for vaccination services. When receiving the minimum reported payments for vaccination services, pediatric and family medicine practices had positive income, internal medicine, and OBGYN practices had approximately equal costs and payments, and community health clinics had losses or negative income.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, vaccination service providers appeared to have small positive income from vaccination services. In some cases, providers experienced negative income, which underscores the need for providers and policymakers to design interventions and system improvements to make vaccination services financially sustainable for all provider types.