On December 1, 2016, a great advancement was made to Ontario pharmacists’ scope of practice. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced that Ontarians will be able to access a broader range of vaccines through their community pharmacy.
Effective December 15, 2016, the amended regulations under the Pharmacy Act will permit pharmacists to vaccinate patients over five years of age against 13 more diseases. These include a number of travel vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid and yellow fever. Furthermore, pharmacists will be able to administer the herpes zoster (shingles), meningococcal, pneumococcal and rabies vaccines. A complete list of authorized vaccines can be found here.
Prior to this change in legislation, Ontario pharmacists were only able to administer the annual influenza vaccine, as part of the Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP). Following the implementation of UIIP in 2012, over 1.8 million flu shots have been provided in Ontario pharmacies. This authority will now be expanded to trained pharmacy students and interns.
As demonstrated by the success of UIIP, leveraging the skills, training and knowledge of pharmacists through vaccination programs has benefited patients, and the Ontario healthcare system immensely. In addition to improving immunization rates, pharmacist involvement will increase patient access and convenience by minimizing the need to book vaccination appointments with their primary health provider. Moreover, due to the temperature-sensitive nature of many vaccines, on-site administration will minimize or eliminate stability-related safety issues.
All Ontarians are encouraged to ask their local pharmacist about the availability of various vaccines and any associated costs. Since the majority of vaccines are not publicly funded, patients may be required to pay out of pocket for both the product and its administration.
For more information, please visit:
OPA Today. “Pharmacists to Provide Travel Vaccinations to Ontario Patients.” December 2016. Retrieved from <https://www.opatoday.com/Media/Default/Scope%20Of%20Practice/Travelvaccines_announcement_FINAL_Dec1.pdf> on December 7, 2016.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “Making More Vaccines Available in Pharmacies.” December 2016. Retrieved from <https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/12/making-more-vaccines-available-in-pharmacies.html> on December 7, 2016.