Download project fact sheet (PDF)

pharmacist giving flu shotCo-led by Nancy Waite and Sherilyn Houle, this research project will evaluate the effectiveness and uptake of influenza vaccination in pharmacies, a  service community pharmacists have provided to their patients since 2012.

Members: Wasem Alsabbagh, Suzanne Cadarette, Jeff Kwong, Emily Milne, Ned Pojskic, Lalitha Raman-Wilms
Collaborator: John Papastergiou

Research coordinator: Richard Violette
Research assistant: Jane Pearson Sharpe
Coordinator of ICES study components: Giulia Consiglio

MSc candidate: Gokul Raj Pullagura
Independent study student: Nareefa Nasrudeen

Research goals

The goals of this project are to determine the uptake of community pharmacist–administered influenza vaccinations in Ontario since immunization authority was granted in 2012 as well as explore the impact these new immunizers have had on the overall Ontario influenza vaccination rate.

Project researchers are also determining the characteristics of patients who have chosen to receive their influenza vaccination from a community pharmacist, exploring whether community pharmacists and patients support the expansion of Ontario community pharmacists’ immunization authority beyond the influenza vaccine, and examining immunization authority of pharmacists and pharmacy students in other jurisdictions.

Methods

Pharmacist billing data are being used to determine patient demographics and the number of pharmacist-administered flu shots. Data from a variety of sources are being analyzed to examine the impact of this service on the number of influenza shots administered by pharmacists relative to those administered by doctors and public health nurses to determine influenza vaccination uptake and to explore demographic and regional differences.

Researchers have also surveyed Ontario pharmacists to gauge their attitudes on influenza immunization and determine their stage of involvement, barriers to implementation and recommendations for system changes.

Implications

Findings of this project may increase the number of pharmacists who provide vaccination services and increase the number of patients who are immunized by pharmacists, thus further protecting the public from vaccine-preventable diseases. The project is also making recommendations for university and professional organization education programs to better prepare pharmacy students and practicing pharmacists to immunize.

The study’s results are elucidating the facilitators and barriers to expanding pharmacist immunization to other infectious diseases, such as pertussis or whooping cough and shingles.

Learn more about this project

protecting patients by protecting ourselves comicThose that can give a shot, get a shot

With recent expansions to scope of practice that have allowed Canadian pharmacists to play a larger role in administering influenza vaccinations to the public, it is important they meet Canadian guidelines recommending that 80% of healthcare professionals and 100% of vaccinators get an annual flu shot.

To find out if Ontario’s community pharmacists had received the influenza vaccination themselves during the 2013–14 flu season, the pharmacists-as-immunizers team conducted an anonymous, online survey.

The team found that 7 out of 10 Ontario community pharmacists had received the influenza vaccine.

However, pharmacists who were certified to immunize patients were nearly three times more likely to have received the influenza vaccine than those who were not.

No other factors the team investigated predicted the likelihood of pharmacists being vaccinated.

The journal publication below features a comic that summarizes the team’s findings. Please share the comic with your colleagues, coworkers and friends. It is also available as a PDF document you can print and distribute.

Journal publications
  1. Ziegler B, Alsabbagh W, Houle S, Wenger L, Church D, Waite N. Protecting our patients by protecting ourselves: An analysis of the personal influenza immunization rate of Ontario community pharmacists. Can Pharm J, 2016; 149(4):246–55.
  2. Church D, Johnson S, Raman-Wilms L, Schneider E, Waite N, Pearson-Sharpe J. A literature review of the impact of pharmacy students in immunization initiatives. Can Pharm J, 2016;149(3):153–65.
Pharmacists as immunizers in the news
Recent presentations

2015 Canadian Pharmacists Conference • Ottawa, ON • May 28–31, 2015

  • Effect of age of Ontario community pharmacy patrons’ perspective of pharmacists as influenza immunizers (oral, abstract as PDF)
    Alsabbagh W, Wenger L, Papastergiou J, Pojskic N, Raman-Wilms L, Schneider E, Waite N

Immunization Research Network First Annual Meeting • Montréal, QC • May 6–7, 2015

  • Community pharmacies providing influenza vaccine in Ontario: A descriptive analysis using administrative data (oral)
    Kwong J, Cadarette S, Schneider E, Campitelli M, Church D, Consiglio G, Pojskic N, Alsabbagh W, Waite N
  • Pharmacists’ expanded immunization authority: A regulatory review (poster)
    Waite N, Church D, Johnson, S, Raman-Wilms, L, Pojskic N, Pearson-Sharpe J, Schneider E, Houle S

The Ontario Public Health Convention • Toronto, ON • Mar 25–27, 2015

  • Pharmacists as immunizers: Understanding the patient perspective (oral)
    Wenger L, Sergeant O, Schneider E, Pojskic N, Raman-Wilms L, Papastergiou J, Waite NM
  • Community pharmacies providing influenza vaccines in Ontario: A descriptive analysis using administrative data (oral)
    Kwong J, Cadarette S, Schneider E, Campitelli M, Church D, Consiglio G, Pojskic N, Houle S, Waite N

2014 Canadian Immunization Conference • Ottawa, ON • Dec 2–4, 2014

  • Patient perspectives on pharmacists as immunizers: A scoping review (oral)
    Wenger L, Sergeant O, Schneider E, Pojskic N, Raman-Wilms L, Papastergiou J, Waite N
  • Pharmacists’ expanded immunization authority: A global regulatory review (poster)
    Church D, Johnson S, Raman-Wilms L, Pojskic N, Schneider E, Houle S, Waite N
  • Pharmacy students as immunizers: A scoping review of the literature (poster)
    Church D, Johnson S, Raman-Wilms L, Pojskic N, Schneider E, Houle S, Waite N

2014 Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research Conference • Toronto, ON • Nov 2–4, 2014

Abstracts from the CAPT 2014 conference are available free from the Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology.

See the special issue of J Popul Ther Clin Pharmcol. 2014. 21(3): e453–e485 — Drivers of change: How HTA, evidence and policy affect perceptions of value and health care practice (PDF). The presentation below is abstract 40.

  • Expanding pharmacists’ immunization authority in Ontario: A jurisdictional and scoping review (poster)
    Church D, Waite NM, Schneider E

Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2014 Annual Meeting • Montréal, QC • Jun 10–13, 2014

  • Pharmacy students as immunizers: Review and policy recommendations (oral)
    Johnson S, Waite N, Schneider E

2014 Canadian Pharmacists Conference • Saskatoon • May 31–Jun 3, 2014

The following abstracts from the 2014 Canadian Pharmacists Conference were published in Canadian Pharmacists Journal, 2014, 147(4):S1-S60. PDFs of the OPEN abstracts from that meeting are reproduced here with permission from Sage Journals.

  • Pharmacy students as immunizers: Review and policy recommendations (oral, abstract as PDF)
    Johnson S, Waite N, Schneider E
  • Patient perspectives on pharmacists as immunizers: A scoping review (oral, abstract as PDF)
    Sergeant O, Wenger L, Schneider E, Waite NM