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

Public  ·  April 3, 2016

I am extremely excited to hear about, and undoubtedly support for various reasons, the proposed amendments to the Pharmacy Act that would enable pharmacists across Ontario to provide vaccinations for a variety of infections and diseases. With the approval for RPh administered flu vaccines, pharmacists have already exhibited their ability to perform to the standard required to provide such a health service. The program ensures that pharmacists are well educated through "OCP-approved pharmacist injection training" and the maintenance of valid healthcare provider CPR and First Aid certification, ensuring public safety and protection in the provision of vaccine services. If the proposed amendments were to occur, I feel it would be a great benefit to the Canadian Healthcare System and Ontario LHIN's, but most importantly to the Canadian population, especially those located in rural areas. Patients would be able to receive their immunizations (for school, work, travel, general health, etc.) at their local pharmacy, contingent on the pharmacist being fit to perform the immunization, and in some rural areas a pharmacy may be more easily accessible than a doctor’s office. Additionally, the amount of doctor visits would decrease reducing congestion related to vaccines, albeit by a small amount. Furthermore, pharmacists resemble a first-line support for patients and enhancing their scope of practice to empower them to provide more of a support is in the best interest of patients and the general public. This scope of practice enhancement also supports the shift in the pharmacy of pharmacists' professional focus toward more cognitive patient-oriented functions. As well, with a greater number of healthcare professionals qualified to provide vaccinations, there is an increased net of safety for public protection in the event of a pandemic or epidemic crisis. This idea cannot be better exemplified than through the H1N1 incident. Had a vaccine been available during the early days, it would have been vital that it be distributed as quickly as possible to reduce the number of effected individuals and potential deaths. Finally, the only reason I feel anyone would oppose such a progression within our healthcare system is due to the fear of change and the conviction that such practices should be left up to a doctor, or that something will go wrong. Well, registered pharmacists have been performing vaccination injections and nothing has gone wrong! Healthcare should always be progressing and adapting to support the consistently evolving needs of the public, and if more healthcare providers are willing and able to provide an increased measure of essential services, then it is in the benefit (beneficence) of the public, we must respect patients' right to choose where they would prefer to receive their vaccination (autonomy), and to oppose could do harm (shortcoming non-maleficence) to those in areas where a doctor may not be readily accessible. In closing, I look forward to the new amendments to the Pharmacy Act and ecstatically support the enhancement of pharmacists’ scope of practice and thus their promotion within the Ontario healthcare sector.

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