• Blog Post

Immunizing Underserved Communities: Q&A with Bill Wrigley, Genoa Healthcare’s director of Clinical Product, Immunizations

Jul 30th, 2021

Increased Risk of Serious Illness in Underserved Communities

Providing health care that serves the whole person, including life-saving immunizations, is an important part of protecting the health of people with severe mental illness and substance use disorder. These underserved communities experience unique barriers to care and may face an increased risk of serious illness from viruses, including COVID-19, due to other underlying health conditions. Below, Bill Wrigley, Genoa Healthcare’s director of Clinical Product, Immunizations, shares information about Genoa’s immunization program.

What are the common immunizations provided by Genoa pharmacies?

Historically, we have focused on flu vaccines for our consumers and clinic staff in the fall. After COVID-19 vaccines were approved in late 2020, we moved quickly to gain access and administer as many shots as possible. To date, Genoa has provided over 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines for our communities. Genoa pharmacists can also provide traditional vaccines like pneumonia, shingles, and tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap). We are working to expand our offerings to meet the needs of our consumers.

How are immunizations beneficial to the behavioral health community?

Vaccines are a cost-effective way to prevent communicable diseases. Given the barriers to preventive care for the behavioral health community, this population can benefit from a targeted approach to immunization messaging and care delivery.

What barriers do those with serious mental illness and substance use disorders face when it comes to immunizations?

The same barriers that make it difficult for the behavioral health community to obtain their medication and access care in general apply to immunizations as well. Barriers to vaccinations include lack of awareness, accessibility, cost, fear of immunization, and lack of recommendations by primary care providers.

How does offering immunizations on site at behavioral health clinics help address some of these barriers?

Similar to how on-site pharmacy services remove barriers to quality care, offering vaccinations in the same place people go for mental health care increases their access to immunizations. There are multiple reasons for this, including the benefit of providing information as a trusted source for consumers and consistent messaging across the entire care team.

The convenience of being located in a familiar place helps improve access and combat transportation barriers as well. A recent article in JAMA Psychiatry shows that providing vaccination clinics parallel to mental health services can increase vaccination rates by up to 25%.

Recent Posts


  • Pharmacy Openings
Announcing six new pharmacy openings!

We’re excited to announce the opening of six pharmacies last month. We welcome all new pharmacy staff to the team and are excited to partner with these organizations to serve...

  • Pharmacy Openings
Announcing seven new pharmacy openings!

We’re excited to announce the opening of seven pharmacies last month. We welcome all new pharmacy staff to the team and are excited to partner with these organizations to serve their...

  • Blog Post
Genoa Healthcare® Pharmacists’ Trusting Consumer Relationships Aid in Support for Long-Acting Injectable Treatments

Providing Support for Long-Acting Injectable Treatments When a consumer who had recently been discharged from the hospital came into their Genoa pharmacy to receive a long-acting injectable (LAI) treatment for...

  • News Releases
New medication options in behavioral health

FDA Approves 14 New Medications The FDA has approved 14 new medication and treatment options for the behavioral health space to date in 2022. The new medication and treatment options...