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Influenza Immunization Policy 2014-2015 online

August 19, 2014

Alberta Health’s Influenza Immunization Policy 2014-2015 is now available. 

Participants must:

before taking part in the program.

The following are pharmacy-related highlights from the provincial Influenza Immunization Policy.

Client eligibility
Non-residents are not eligible to receive Alberta’s influenza vaccine. Individuals claiming to be Alberta residents but who do not have a PHN or whose PHN is inactive must be directed to their local Alberta Health Services Public Health Office.

Reminder: Pharmacists may not immunize individuals younger than nine years of age against seasonal influenza with provincially funded influenza vaccine.

Cold chain requirements
Detailed cold chain requirements are outlined in Appendix B1 of the policy. Of note:

  • Each site storing vaccine must have detailed vaccine cold chain protocols for routine operations and urgent situations.
    • All staff who administer or handle vaccines in any way must be familiar with these protocols.
  • All sites offering injections must have vaccine handling and storage policiesand protocols in place. The policies and protocols must comply with the national recommendations for storage and handling of biological products.
  • Each site where vaccine is stored must have a designated vaccine coordinator and another staff member as a backup. The designated person is responsible for ensuring vaccines are handled correctly, that procedures are documented, and that personnel receive appropriate training.
  • At minimum, the temperature must be recorded, at the beginning and end of each business day for each refrigerator storing vaccine even if chart recorders, data loggers or alarm systems are used.

Immunizers should also be aware:

Reporting requirements
Reporting is required on:

a. The identity of the individual vaccinated,

b. The vaccines administered to a particular individual,

c. Any adverse events experienced by those vaccinated, and

d. Cold chain breaks.

  • Adverse events – Immunizers must have protocols for management of anaphylaxis (note that the Canadian Immunization Guide section on anaphylaxis has been updated). Severe adverse events must be reported within 24 hours to the local AHS Public Health office. In any case where an immunizer is unsure whether a symptom following immunization is related to the immunization, the immunizer must consult with the local AHS public office as soon as possible. 
  • Cold chain breaks – All known exposures of vaccine to temperatures outside +2.0ºC to +8.0ºC or inappropriately exposed to light must be reported. Alberta Health will provide direction on the use of exposed vaccine.

In addition to the above, specific reporting requirements for pharmacies and pharmacists are detailed in the policy’s appendices.

Vaccine supply and distribution
This year, pharmacy wholesale distributors will be distributing vaccine to pharmacies. Pharmacy wholesale distributors have experience in distributing prescription drugs to pharmacies in Alberta; have a warehouse in Alberta; and meet the requirements for providing cold chain management for influenza vaccines.