How to Calculate Your Vaccine Order
Given the expense of vaccines—especially the newer ones for human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes zoster (shingles)—it’s important to make sure you’re in a ‘Goldilocks position’ when ordering: Too much of any one vaccine can lead to spoilage and waste—colloquially known as “cash in the trash.” But too little can also cause problems. Without important vaccines on hand, you’re in danger of putting your patients’ health at risk (and giving up revenue) if you have to send them elsewhere for their immunizations.
Even if you’ve been in practice for years, accurately predicting how much of each vaccine you need can be tricky with so many variables to consider: historical data, current patient population, current health trends, and more. We’ve put together some tips for managing this complicated and potentially expensive process.
Tips to managing the ordering process:
- Most practices will want to order non-flu vaccines weekly or every two weeks. The more often you order, the lower the risk of running out in crunch times. The downside of more frequent ordering? You’ll have to spend more administrative dollars to keep track of what’s coming in and what’s going out.
- Make sure you’ve reviewed the most recent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) schedule of recommendations so you’re aware of changes you need to make to your ordering plan. Visit the ACIP’s page on the CDC website here.
- Use an inventory spreadsheet to calculate orders based on your past history.
- Your vaccine manufacturer representatives can be good sources of information. It’s worth checking with them for your past ordering history and/or guidelines for what similar practices are ordering.