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Every year CPhA, in collaboration with Immunize Canada [formerly the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness and Promotion (CCIAP)], provides you with updated information on influenza awareness. CPhA offers a number of resources designed to help you run an influenza immunization clinic, get informed, educate patients, raise awareness and promote vaccination in your pharmacy. Read the letter from CPhA President Sherry Peister outlining important information for the 2013–2014 influenza season.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization statement indicates that there is evidence that the transmission of influenza between infected healthcare workers and their vulnerable patients is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Healthcare workers with direct patient contact should consider it their responsibility to provide the highest standard of care, which includes that they personally receive the annual influenza vaccination. Those with confirmed or presumed influenza should not have direct patient contact.

2013–2014 Flu Season Information

Influenza affects millions of Canadians, with an average 20,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths annually. Vaccination is recognized as the cornerstone for preventing or mitigating influenza. It is important to encourage your patients to receive the flu shot each year.

CPhA has updated the influenza resources for pharmacists according to the National Advisory Committee for Immunization (NACI) 2013–2014 flu season recommendations.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 6, 2013: Revised wording for the NACI recommendation for live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in healthy children and adolescents 2–17 years of age.

For 2013, specified individuals for whom the influenza vaccine is recommended is unchanged. While influenza immunization is recommended for all Canadians six months of age or older (without contraindications), it is particularly important for those at risk of influenza complications, those capable of transmitting the virus to vulnerable patients including children ≤59 months of age and those providing essential community services.

The 2013-2014 recommendations provide specific recommendations for the following groups:

  1. International travelers who travel to southern hemisphere destinations should be alerted that the vaccine for the northern hemisphere may differ from their requirements and their risk should be appropriate assessed.
  2. Those with egg allergies may receive the trivalent inactivated vaccine (but not the live attenuated vaccine). Depending on the severity of their allergic reaction, they can be vaccinated at regular immunization clinics (if their allergic reaction was mild) or should receive it at a medical clinic (if they experienced anaphylaxis).
  3. All health care workers should receive influenza vaccination. It is specifically recommended that those who care for immunocompromised patients receive the trivalent inactivated vaccine.
  4. While there is insufficient evidence to recommend influenza immunization specifically to those working in the swine or poultry industries, the overall recommendation remains that all Canadians six months of age or older, without contraindications, should be immunized.
  5. The recommendations provide clarity regarding the compatibility of live, attenuated vaccines with other attenuated or inactivated vaccines. This and other recommendations can be found in the NACI statement which can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website.

2013–2014 Immunization Resources for Pharmacists

2013 Influenza Pocket Guide
This pocket guide is aimed at helping pharmacists and pharmacy staff identify patients at high risk for developing influenza-related complications. A dosing schedule, counselling points and list of quick links are provided.

2013 Posters & Handouts
These posters and handouts are designed to raise awareness among patients to get their vaccination. Display these posters in your pharmacy waiting area, counselling room or prescription pick-up counter:

Poster: Flu prevention begins with you (8.5x11) (8.5x5.5)
Handout #1: Protect yourself and others from the flu
Handout #2: What healthcare professionals need to know about influenza vaccination

2013 Influenza Guide for Pharmacists
This step-by-step guide allows pharmacists to initiate immunization programs in their communities. A brief summary of the current flu immunization guidelines and guidelines for identifying high-risk patients are described in the guide.