Before ordering vaccines, determine your practice's need. Having too many of any type of vaccine can lead to spoilage and wastage. However, having too few vaccines available may lead to some patients missing out on receiving an on-time immunization. The following steps can help you determine how much vaccine to order:
- Review past records to determine how often you've ordered previously and to decide how much inventory you want to keep on hand. Your vaccine representatives can be good resources.
- Determine what vaccines you are going to use and when they will be used.
- Conduct weekly inventories to ensure limited lost or wasted vaccines.
- View the Vaccine Storage and Handling page for more information on managing your inventory.
If you order through the manufacturer, make sure you take advantage of any special pricing offers. They might include:
Prompt Pay Discounts reflect a discount that vaccine manufacturers provide in exchange for a more rapid payment on account payables. The terms to receive the discount are usually favorable – 60 to 90 days.
Website Order Discounts provide discounts from the manufacturers for ordering their vaccines directly from their website. This allows them to promote their products to you while more easily tracking client activity.
Promotions or Sales occur when vaccine manufacturers attempt to push inventory and influence ordering patterns by running promotions or sales. Pay attention to annual sales dates and structure some of your ordering around the lower price opportunities.
Credit Cards create opportunities in two ways. First they extend payment terms (typically by an additional 30 days). Secondly, many credit cards payback in cash or other benefits (airline miles etc). WARNING: You must make certain not to violate payment terms on your credit card or you might face interest payments of near 20% or above.
Ordering Vaccines For Children Vaccines
VFC vaccines must be ordered and stored separately from private stock. If you are a VFC provider work with your state coordinator to order vaccines.
Ordering Annual Flu Vaccine
Each year, prebooking of influenza vaccine (ordering doses for the next year's flu season) begins around February, before the current season is even over. There are several things to consider when prebooking to help determine the number of doses needed for the next season. It is helpful if you have an electronic health record (EHR) or use an immunization information system (IIS), as most EHRs and IISs can categorize the number of patients by date of birth, which is important when calculating who will need 2 doses of vaccine. Some considerations for ordering include:
- Number of children in each age group. Age groupings will be determined by the brand of vaccine used.
- If you use the sanofi pasteur 6-35 month vaccine, how many children will be 6-35 months of age at the start of the season?
- If you use the sanofi pasteur 3+ years vaccine, how many children will be 3+ years at the start of the season?
- If you use the Novartis or GSK brand, how many children will be 4+ years by the start of the season?
- If you use Flumist, how many children will be 2+ years of age by the start of the season? How many of those are asthmatics or have other contraindications to Flumist?
- Will you order multi-dose vials or use single-dose vaccines/prefilled syringes?
- Approximate number of children who will need a second dose. This is important to factor into your prebooking because you really want everyone who needs 2 doses to receive them both in order so they are fully protected. Individuals who need 2 doses will not be fully protected until they receive the second dose. This usually includes children from 6 months to 8 years who have not received 2 doses previously.
- Approximate number of new patients each year. For example, if you have a 3% increase in patients each year, you will want to increase your prebooking order as well. For pediatricians, new patients should also include number of expected newborns who will be 6 months old by flu season. It's important to remember to plan for babies not yet born and also recognize that these infants will need a second dose.
- Storage – you must have enough storage space available for the vaccines. Some practices may want to consider a flu vaccine fridge, a separate fridge to use just during flu season. If the any vaccine refrigerator is too tightly packed, temperature fluctuations can occur and make the flu vaccine and your other vaccine stock unusable.
Make sure you have enough needles/syringes on hand. If you use prefilled syringes, you won't need to purchase additional syringes. If you use multi-dose vials, you will need to purchase additional syringes.
Ordering Resources for Flu Season: