Pharmacy U

Pharmacists have the skills to administer COVID-19 vaccinations


by Staff

The time will come, before too long, when Canada’s pharmacists are called on to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. They’re perfectly suited the task, since every year they are the go-to healthcare professionals to give out flu (and other) shots.

“Pharmacies across Canada are ready to hit the ground running, as most already offer immunization programs for the flu and over 98 per cent of pharmacies are equipped to handle the distribution and storage of refrigerated and frozen vaccines,” said Sandra Hanna, pharmacist and CEO of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies), in a news release.

A recent survey of pharmacies conducted by Neighbourhood Pharmacies identified the following top three criteria for a successful pharmacy immunization campaign:

  1. Clear, consistent and frequent public service announcements regarding patient prioritization and instructions for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  2. Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through the current pharmaceutical distribution system
  3. Early vaccination of pharmacists and pharmacy staff as frontline healthcare workers and immunizers

Fact: 89 per cent of pharmacies routinely administer vaccines, and on average each of these pharmacies can immunize 69 Canadians per day while maintaining their usual dispensing and medication management activities. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy, according to a recently released survey by the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Injections and immunizations are growing every year in pharmacies across the country. Patients are able to get injections at times that are convenient for them, and these injections help to make pharmacies a destination.

Will you be ready when governments call on pharmacies to be part of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout?

These tips will help:

  1. Inject regularly. If your scope of practice allows you to inject many vaccines and medications, take every opportunity to do so. Practice truly does make perfect. Many pharmacists will only inject during flu season, then take six to eight months off without giving another injection. This can make them feel ill-prepared to inject again after such a long break.
  2. Practise on each other. Injecting another team member helps ensure you keep your skills current and consistent.
  3. Take every opportunity to increase your confidence and technique. Patients can sense a pharmacist’s lack of confidence. Regular practice and taking advantage of educational opportunities like the injection refresher course can help enhance your confidence.
  4. Use a team approach. Make sure every pharmacist on your team can inject confidently.
  5. Focus on your technique. Proper injection technique is crucial, and it can also help with injections at other sites, such as helping patients with type 2 diabetes learn to inject insulin.