Feedback for Proposed Changes to the Pharmacy Act (Administration of Vaccines by Pharmacists)

Pharmacist  ·  April 1, 2016

Increasing the number of vaccines a pharmacist can administer will benefit few people. We can't focus blindly on what may be good for the patient when it may be detrimental to the pharmacy. There must be a balance between benefit to the public and benefit to the business. It is challenging enough to provide flu vaccines in the current pharmacy environment. Labour cutbacks make it difficult to maintain the current level of Pharmaceutical Care provided. The pressure on pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine increases the workload without providing appropriate compensation. Many people who request the flu vaccine do not come prepared with regard to time or dressing appropriately. Such people do not view vaccinations as the medical procedures they are, and wrongly expect the process to be as easy as buying candy. It is unlikely that anyone seeking advanced levels of vaccination will be better prepared. Travel vaccines and other vaccines require a more detailed history of a person's vaccinations. Most people are not aware of their vaccination history, especially regarding any vaccines received as a child. From personal experience, vaccine history is not properly shared between family physicians and the local Health Unit. Further, I am not aware if such information is shared between different Health Units within Ontario. Without an accurate and detailed vaccine history, a pharmacist cannot properly assess the needs of the patient. As far as Travel vaccines are concerned, the HCP must perform a detailed consultation with the patient to determine their travel itinerary, and must be aware of risks associated with those areas. These services tend to be provided in specialized clinics, as they are not commonly provided by GPs. In addition, it is not enough to provide vaccines; often a prescription for an anti-malarial or altitude sickness therapy may be required. These are not within the pharmacist's scope, so the patient will need to visit a Travel clinic regardless. Most pharmacies will likely not even stock such vaccinations, as they will be used too infrequently to justify the cost of keeping stock on hand. If pharmacists want to provide better care to patients, then we need to focus on supporting the Pharmaceutical Care that we already provide, and are specially trained in like no other profession, rather than trying to take on the responsibilities of other health care professionals.

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