Pharmacists anticipate significant demand for COVID-19 vaccines, call for a coordinated strategy with federal support
December 3, 2020 (Ottawa): With first ministers set to meet next week to discuss health care funding and COVID-19 efforts, including vaccine distribution and logistics, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is calling for a more coordinated strategy to ensure that health professionals are ready to administer vaccines when they arrive in Canada. We are 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.
It’s clear that pharmacy will be central to supporting a successful national vaccination program. What is needed now is a clear plan for all health providers.
About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians.