Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Original article

Vol. 144 No. 1718 (2014)

Immunisation coverage of adults: a vaccination counselling campaign in the pharmacies in Switzerland

  • Fabio Valeri
  • Christoph Hatz
  • Dominique Jordan
  • Claudine Leuthold
  • Astrid Czock
  • Phung Lang
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2014;144:w13955


OBJECTIVE: To assess vaccination coverage for adults living in Switzerland.

METHODS: Through a media campaign, the general population was invited during 1 month to bring their vaccination certificates to the pharmacies to have their immunisation status evaluated with the software viavac©, and to complete a questionnaire.

RESULTS: A total of 496 pharmacies in Switzerland participated in the campaign, of which 284 (57%) submitted valid vaccination information. From a total of 3,634 participants in the campaign, there were 3,291 valid cases (participants born ≤1992) and 1,011 questionnaires completed. Vaccination coverage for the participants was 45.9% and 34.6% for five and six doses of diphtheria, 56.4% and 44.0% for tetanus and 66.3% and 48.0% for polio, respectively. Coverage estimates for one and two doses of measles vaccine were 76.5% and 49.4%, respectively, for the birth cohort 1967–1992 and 4.0% and 0.8%, respectively, for the cohort ≤1966. There was a significant difference in coverage for most vaccinations between the two aforementioned birth cohorts. A plot of the measles vaccine coverage over time shows that the increase in coverage correlated with policy changes in the Swiss Immunisation Schedule.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite selection bias and low participation, this study indicates that vaccination coverage for the basic recommended immunisations in the adult population in Switzerland is suboptimal. More efforts using various means and methods are needed to increase immunisation coverage in adolescents before they leave school. An established method to determine vaccination coverage for the general population could provide invaluable insights into the effects of changes in vaccination policies and disease outbreaks.


  1. Lang P, Piller U, Steffen R. Durchimpfung in der Schweiz 1999–2003. Bull BAG 2006;19:366–71.
  2. Lang P, Piller U, Zimmermann H, Steffen R, Hatz C. The Swiss National Vaccination Coverage Survey, 2005–07. Pub Health Rep. 2011;Suppl 2;126: 97–108.
  3. Lang P, Piller U, Hatz C. Durchimpfung von 2–, 8– und 16–jährigen Kindern in der Schweiz, 2008–10. Bull BAG 2012;40:681–86.
  4. Wu LA, Kanitz E, Crumly J, D'Ancona F, Strikas RA. Adult immunization policies in advanced economies: vaccination recommendations, financing, and vaccination coverage. Int J Public Health. DOI 10.1007/s00038–012–0438–x. 2013 Jan 25. [Epub ahead of print].
  5. Lee C-L, Naguel C, Gyurech D, Duvoisin N, Schilling J. Awareness of vaccination status and its predictors among working people in Switzerland. BMC Public Health 2003;3:18.
  6. pharmaSuisse Annual Report 2012.
  7. Bundesgesetz über die universitären Medizinalberufe MedBG Art. 9a, page 5.
  8. Grabenstein, J. D. Pharmacists as vaccine advocates: roles in community pharmacies, nursing homes, and hospitals. Vaccine. 1998;16(18):1705–10.
  9. Warner JG, Portlock J, Smith J, Rutter P. Increasing seasonal influenza vaccination uptake using community pharmacies: experience from the Isle of Wight, England. Int J Pharm Pract. 2013 Apr 15. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12037. [Epub ahead of print].
  10. Hogue MD, Grabenstein JD, Foster SL, Rothholz MC. Pharmacist involvement with immunizations: a decade of professional advancement. J Am Pharm Assoc. (2003). 2006;46(2):168–79. Review. Erratum in: J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash DC). 2006;46(3):308.
  11. Kamal KM, Madhavan SS, Maine LL. Pharmacy and immunization services: pharmacists' participation and impact. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2003;43 (4):470–82.
  12. Horta MR, Costa S, Mendes Z, Mendes T, Santos C. Role of the pharmacist in vaccinations. Country study: Portugal. Paper presented at the 71st Annual Congress of the International Pharmaceutical Federation; 2011 Sept 3–8; Hyderabad, India.
  13. Siegrist C-A. viavac-Ihr elektronische Impfexperte. (viavac- your electronic vaccination expert). Paediatrica. 2008;19(2):52–5. German.
  14. R Development Core Team (2012). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3–900051–07–0, URL
  15. Schaffer SJ, Fontanesi J, Rickert D, Grabenstein JD, Rothholz MC, et al. How effectively can health care settings beyond the traditional medical home provide vaccines to adolescents? Pediatrics. 2008;121(Suppl 1):S35–45. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007–1115E.
  16. Steyer TE, Ragucci KR, Pearson WS, Mainous AG III. The role of pharmacists in the delivery of influenza vaccinations. Vaccine. 2004;22:1001–6.
  17. Fontanesi J, Jue-Leong S. Logistical and fiscal sustainability of a school-based, pharmacist-administered influenza vaccination program. J Am Pharm Assoc. (2003). 2012;52(5):e74–9.
  18. Grabenstein JD, Guess HA, Hartzema AG, Koch GG, Konrad TR. Effect of vaccination by community pharmacists among adult prescription recipients. Med Care. 2001;39(4):340–8.
  19. John Fontanesi, Jan D Hirsch, Sarah M Lorentz, Debra A Bowers, Jason Shafrin. Comparison of pharmacists and primary care providers as immunizers. Am J Pharm Benefits. 2009;1(3):150–7.
  20. Mohler-Kuo M, Steffen R, Bopp M, Jacobs RJ, Mutsch M. Prevalence of hepatitis A virus risk factors in a very low endemic country, Switzerland. Vaccine. 2007;25(52):8718–25. Epub 2007 Nov 5.
  21. Bundesamt für Gesundheit. Richtlinien und Empfehlungen: Schweizerische Impfplan 2013. Bull BAG. Jan 2013.
  22. Bundesamt für Gesundheit. Masernimpfung in der Schweiz im 2012 – Resultate einer nationalen Bevölkerungsbefragung zum Thema Masern. Bull BAG 2013;17:278–83.
  23. Bundesamt für Gesundheit. Europäische Impfwoche vom 20. Bis 27. April 2013: Nie mehr Impfbüchlein suchen: Bull BAG 2013;16:258.
  24. Lang P, Valeri F, Piller U, Held L, Hatz C. Measles containing vaccine coverage among adolescents in switzerland: do school vaccination programs matter? Paper presented at: Re-Organizing Health Systems. 7th Annual Conference of the Swiss Society of Public Health; 2012 Aug 30–1; Lausanne, Switzerland.
  25. Allison MA, Crane LA, Beaty BL, Davidson AJ, Melinkovich P, Kempe A. School-based health centers: improving access and quality of care for low-income adolescents. Pediatrics. 2007; 120; e887–e894; originally published online Sept 10, 2007; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006–2314.
  26. Lashkari HP, El Bashir H. Immunisations among school leavers: is there a place for measles-mumps-rubella vaccines? Euro Surveill. 2010;15(17):pii=19555.
  27. Schmier J, Li S, King JC Jr, Nichol K, Mahadevia PJ. Benefits and costs of immunizing children against influenza at school: an economic analysis based on a large-cluster controlled clinical trial. Health Aff. (Millwood) 2008;27(2):w96–104. Epub 2008 Jan 23.
  28. Grabenstein JD, Guess HA, Hartzema AG. People vaccinated by pharmacists: descriptive epidemiology. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2001;41(1):46–52.
  29. Miller S, Patel N, Vadala T, Abbrons J, Cerulli J. Defining the pharmacist role in the pandemic outbreak of novel H1N1 influenza. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2012;52(6):763–7.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>