The Canadian Pharmacists Association has called for a coordinated strategy to ensure healthcare professions are ready to administer vaccines once they arrive in Canada.
The association is also calling for a federal commitment to provide the necessary funding and resources to assist provinces and territories cover the costs associated with the administration of vaccines by health professionals.
“Pharmacists are ready and willing to help vaccinate Canadians against COVID-19, and similar to flu campaigns, we know that pharmacies remain the preferred location for Canadians to get vaccinated,” said Christina Tulk, Chair, CPhA. “What we need now, is some direction from governments on how and when vaccines will be distributed so that pharmacies can start planning.”
Despite an unprecedented vaccine distribution effort on the horizon, most of the focus to-date has been on which vaccines will be approved and how to prioritize those who will be immunized first. However, many questions remain about how these vaccines will get into the arms of the majority of Canadians in our communities across the country.
“This year’s flu campaign was in many ways a dress rehearsal for COVID-19 immunization programs,” added Tulk. “There are many lessons learned that we need to keep in mind as part of the planning process, including the fact that the demand for vaccinations in pharmacies continues to increase year over year, and that vaccine allocation strategies are key to meeting the needs of patients.”
The Canadian public recognizes the essential role pharmacists will play in the COVID-19 immunization vaccine strategy. According to a recent national survey conducted by Abacus Data:
- 1 in 3 Canadian want to get the vaccine as soon as possible, while 48% say they will wait a bit before getting it
- Canadians chose pharmacy (43%) as the top location to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, over a physician’s office (42%) or a public health clinic (14%)
- Nearly two-thirds of Canadians say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy, and 27% would consider being vaccinated at a pharmacy
- 81% of Canadians highly trust their pharmacists and regard the pharmacy as a safe place to get a vaccine
A mass vaccination program targeting close to the entire population will require multiple points of administration. The majority of Canadians live within 5km of a pharmacy and many pharmacies are located in rural and remote communities, which will be critical to making vaccines accessible and for the administration of multiple doses.
Pharmacists will be key to the successful rollout of the COVID19 vaccine plan in Canada.