On January 1, 2021, Part 1 of the Immunization Regulations to the Public Health Act will come into force and this will impact pharmacy practice.
As of January 1, 2021, the following must be reported electronically to the provincial immunization repository (Imm/ARI):
- all immunizations (whether provincially funded such as the influenza program or privately purchased such as a travel vaccination),
- all immunization assessments that do not result in an immunization being provided (because of refusal of consent or a contraindication), and
- all previously unreported immunizations.
More information about the Immunization Regulations and what needs to be reported is described in detail in the Alberta Health video on Part 1 of the Immunization Regulations. Please review this video to get a basic understanding about the regulations and your responsibilities.
How do I report these immunizations?
Provincially funded immunizations that are submitted through the Alberta Blue Cross system will automatically be uploaded to Imm/ARI with no extra steps required by the pharmacist.
Immunizations involving privately paid vaccines and immunizations not submitted to Alberta Blue Cross (such as employee influenza immunization clinics), immunization assessments that do not result in an immunization being provided, and past unreported immunization events you are aware of will need to be submitted directly to Alberta Health.
Alberta Health has been working with pharmacy software vendors to create a system where all submissions occur in a manner similar to how prescribing events are currently uploaded to Netcare. Ultimately, these submissions will occur automatically. However, Alberta Health has indicated that these systems will not be in place in time for January 1, 2021.
In the interim, Alberta Health will require pharmacists and other healthcare providers to manually upload privately paid immunizations via the Immunization Direct Submission Mechanism (IDSM).
How do I use the IDSM?
The IDSM will be accessed by a login in a manner similar to how pharmacists currently access Netcare. The pharmacist will then input immunization events using an intake form accessible through a standard web browser.
Before being able to submit to the IDSM, pharmacists must first register with Alberta Health to gain access to the system. The registration process opens on November 1, 2020, and the registration form can be found here.
More information on the IDSM and the requirement of healthcare professionals can be found in the October 13, 2020, edition of the Alberta Health Immunization Regulation Newsletter.
What if I have further questions?
Alberta Health has resources available to provide further information:
- Frequently asked questions: Immunization Regulation.
- Immunization Fact Sheet – What is Imm/ARI?
- Immunization Regulations Part 1 – video.
- Immunization Regulations Part 2 & 3 – video.
For further questions and support in registering to use the IDSM, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals may contact Alberta Health at Health.Imm@gov.ab.ca.