Pharmacists Provide Over 1 Million Flu Shots to Albertans
Preparing for COVID-19 Vaccine
EDMONTON, AB, Dec. 22, 2020 /CNW/ - Alberta's community pharmacists have provided over 1 Million flu shots in less than eight weeks while at the same time instituting COVID-19 protocols into their practices. Pharmacists have become the primary immunizers in the province, having provided 78% of all flu shots this year. When refrigerator stable COVID-19 vaccines become available, pharmacists will be well prepared to meet the vaccination expectations of the province's 4.5 Million people.
Community pharmacists have a proven, robust, and safe vaccine program for public health vaccination. Since 2009, Alberta pharmacists have participated in the Influenza Immunization Program by offering publicly funded vaccination, close to peoples' homes, in over 1500 pharmacies across the province. Alberta is the national leader for pharmacist administered vaccines.
This year, in an effort to mitigate a potential twin-demic, one of both circulating influenza and COVID-19 virus, over 4600 community pharmacists went to work to ensure the public would receive their flu shot in a timely manner. Pharmacists implemented measures to ensure appropriate physical distancing, masking, and hand-hygiene, as well as investments in infrastructure to support symptom screening and appointment scheduling using online virtual care systems. Consequently, Alberta has yet to identify a single lab-confirmed case of influenza in the province.
Community pharmacists recognize that early vaccine products, such as the Pfizer vaccine, have storage and mobility requirements that limit this vaccine to being administered at Alberta Health Services facilities. However, there are additional vaccine candidates with better stability at refrigerator temperatures awaiting approval by Health Canada. These are ideal for use by Alberta's existing community pharmacy infrastructure for broad distribution.
In the interim, community pharmacists continue to meet their patients' healthcare needs in-person and using virtual care technologies. With vaccines beginning to arrive in the province, many people are turning to their pharmacist as their trusted source for information about COVID-19 vaccine. When COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in pharmacies, community pharmacists are well prepared to:
- Facilitate a targeted vaccination approach in all areas of the province;
- Talk to individuals about vaccine concerns and hesitancy and;
- Support vaccine efficacy through dose scheduling and monitoring for safety.
Alberta's pharmacists continue to support their patients in their communities during the pandemic. The Alberta Pharmacists' Association is committed to ensuring that all community pharmacists will be able to offer COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of corporate affiliation, in a way that benefits every Albertan across the province.
For two decades, the Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA) has been a champion for pharmacists in Alberta. We play an integral role in expanding pharmacists' practice, and we continue to advocate on their behalf towards excellence in patient care.
SOURCE Alberta Pharmacists' Association