Important immunization notice from Alberta Health Services

January 22, 2020

Alberta Public Health centres cannot administer vaccines that were dispensed to patients at community pharmacies.

ACP has been advised by Alberta Health Services (AHS) that a number of parents have recently presented at Alberta Public Health centres with vaccine in hand that was dispensed by a community pharmacy. In these instances, the parents have requested that a public health nurse administer the vaccine purchased at a community pharmacy to their children under five years of age.

Alberta Public Health staff cannot administer vaccines prescribed and/or dispensed by a community pharmacy or physician; they can only administer vaccine provided to them by Alberta Health.

AHS has noted that some parents have arrived with vaccine unmonitored, on ice, in the bottom of a stroller or in their purse. In these examples, proper cold chain management and the potency of the vaccine cannot be assured by Alberta Public Health staff.

When informed by Alberta Public Health staff that the vaccines cannot be administered, parents have expressed anger and frustration towards their staff.

Community pharmacy teams are reminded that parents with children under five years of age who require vaccinations should be referred to an Alberta Public Health centre. 

Pharmacists must inform all patients of publicly funded vaccine options when applicable and they should not dispense vaccines to any individual to be administered at an Alberta Public Health centre. 

Refer to the Alberta Immunization Policy for more information on publicly funded immunizations.

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