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Immunizations must be performed appropriately

November 29, 2023
Concerns received by ACP serve as a reminder that applicable standards and guidelines must be adhered to when administering injections.

ACP has received several concerns from the public about their experiences with pharmacy teams when receiving immunizations as part of Alberta’s Seasonal Immunization Program (COVID-19, influenza, and pneumococcal pneumonia). These concerns include the following:

  • pharmacy teams pre-filling syringes more than one hour in advance of administering vaccines;
  • the pharmacy team member administering the vaccine not being clearly identifiable as a pharmacist;
  • patients not given the opportunity to provide informed consent prior to receiving the vaccine;
  • immunizations occurring in unhygienic areas of the pharmacy and the areas being used not being maintained in a clean, organized, and hygienic manner;
  • patients receiving two vaccines (COVID-19 and influenza) when they only expected one (COVID-19); and
  • patients not being informed that they should wait in the pharmacy for a period of observation (usually considered to be 15 minutes) following their immunization.

Pharmacy teams are reminded to refer to ACP’s Guidelines for medication and vaccine injection safety and Guidelines for hand hygiene when providing immunizations.

Before administering an injection, regulated members must gain the informed consent of the patient or a person empowered to make decisions on the patient’s behalf. Remember, it’s important to assess the capacity of the individual who is providing informed consent. Communicating with individuals before and after administering a vaccine is also important to help ensure that the individual’s expectations are understood and so the pharmacy team can confirm the patient’s informed consent and understanding.

For more information, including links to helpful resources, visit ACP’s Seasonal influenza information webpage.