The Ontario government has filed regulations that, effective immediately, authorize pharmacy professionals to provide further vaccination and treatment options for COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This follows government approval of some of the proposed regulatory amendments submitted by the College following a 60-day public consultation earlier this year, and a subsequent consultation by the Ministry of Health.
These regulations recognize that Ontario’s healthcare system continues to see additional pressures that are impacting patient access to care. By expanding the scope of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer an additional vaccine and offer appropriate treatment options for COVID-19 and influenza, patients will have improved access to care during the respiratory illness season.
Effective as of December 12, 2023:
- Part A pharmacists, registered pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians are authorized to administer the RSV vaccine to patients five years of age and older.
- Part A pharmacists are authorized to prescribe Oseltamivir (Tamiflu).
Additionally, the current authority for pharmacists to prescribe Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir (Paxlovid) transitioned from the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), Controlled Acts Regulation (107/96) to O.Reg 202/94 (General) of the Pharmacy Act on December 12, 2023. The authority for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer the COVID-19 vaccine will similarly transition on April 1, 2024. Neither of these amendments represents a change to practice.
To support pharmacy professionals in performing these expanded scope activities safely and with confidence, the College has updated its Administering a Substance by Injection guideline and its Initiating, Adapting and Renewing Prescriptions guideline.