If you are a pharmacy professional, please visit the College’s “COVID-19: Information for Pharmacy Professionals” page.
If You Plan on Visiting Your Pharmacy
COVID-19 Vaccines at the Pharmacy
For information on eligibility and access to COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario, please see the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Vaccine webpage. A number of pharmacies are booking appointments for select COVID-19 vaccines for eligible patients 40 years of age or older.
You must have an appointment to get vaccinated at a participating pharmacy. You can locate pharmacies offering the vaccine on the COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations webpage.
Second Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines
For individuals who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, please read the Government of Ontario’s news release Ontario Updating AstraZeneca Second Dose Guidance for details on accessing your second dose.
For individuals who received the first dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, please read the Government of Ontario’s news release Ontario Expanding Accelerated Second Dose Booking to More Ontarians Ahead of Schedule for details on accessing your second dose.
COVID-19 Testing at the Pharmacy
Certain Ontario pharmacies have elected to offer COVID-19 tests, by appointment only, for eligible asymptomatic patients. Locate information about eligibility and testing centres, including pharmacies, on the Ministry of Health website.
If you intend to go to a pharmacy for COVID-19 testing, you should be aware of the following:
- Not all pharmacies offer this service
- Testing is by appointment only, not on a walk-in basis
- Do not attend a pharmacy for COVID-19 testing if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, if you have any COVID -19 symptoms, visit an assessment centre near you
- At present, the Ministry of Health states that you can get tested at an assessment center or select pharmacies only if you do NOT have symptoms and meet the criteria outlined on the Ministry of Health website.
- All public health measures must be followed when attending your testing appointment, including wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and practicing hand hygiene
Screening of Patients at the Pharmacy
Pharmacies will be instituting screening of patients for COVID-19 using the latest case definition. This includes active screening (such as over the phone or at the counter) and passive screening (such as posting signage).
If you screen positive over the phone with pharmacy, and/or are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing), you will be advised to not enter the pharmacy.
If you screen positive over the phone, pharmacy professionals are required to direct you to call your public health unit or Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000. If you are already in the pharmacy and screen positive, you will be separated from other patients and staff, while the pharmacy professional works with you to notify the public health unit.
Providing Notice to Your Pharmacy When Possible of Your Medication Needs
We encourage you to provide as much notice as possible to your pharmacy regarding your medication needs, including notifying pharmacies in advance of your need for a medication refill, and to remain patient as it may take a longer time than normal to process your prescription and receive your medication.
As well, please be advised that as of June 15, 2020, the Ministry of Health lifted the recommended 30-day limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications. Program recipients can return to filling up to 100-day supply at a time from their pharmacy, when appropriate. For more information, please view the Government of Ontario’s news release “Ontario Lifting 30-Day Supply Limit on Prescriptions.”
If You Have Symptoms
For information on symptoms, how to protect yourself, how to self-isolate, what to do if you have symptoms and how to care for those who are ill, please visit the Ministry of Health’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) page. Additional resources are available from Public Health Ontario, Government of Canada, and the World Health Organization.
The Ministry of Health has created a self-assessment tool to determine if you need to seek further care. Please review the self-assessment BEFORE visiting a pharmacy.
If you are unable to attend an appointment with your prescriber, or are self-isolating, and require a refill of your medication, please contact your pharmacy to speak with your pharmacist as they may be able to assist with renewing your medication to ensure the continuity of your care.
- The College’s Infographic “COVID-19: 4 Important Reminders for Patients”
- Resources the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has put together to help people with concerns and questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and mental well-being
- Public Health Ontario’s Guide to Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings
- COVID-19 Health Resources from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy
- Questions and Answers About Immunization from Immunize Canada
19 to Zero Vaccination: 19 To Zero is a dedicated coalition of academics, public health experts, behavioural economists, and creative professionals working to understand, engage with, and ultimately shift public perceptions around COVID-19 behaviours and vaccination.