Seasonal influenza information
Influenza Vaccination Information
The 2017/18 influenza immunization program is now over. Please see information regarding the 2018-2019 influenza season from Alberta Health below.
Update from Alberta Health (June 13, 2018)
Thank you to all pharmacists who participated in the 2017-2018 Influenza Immunization Program. Planning for the 2018-2019 season has commenced, and there are important changes to the program.
Re: 2018-2019 Alberta Influenza Immunization Program Update for Pharmacists
Public Launch Date:
The Alberta Influenza Immunization Program will begin October 15, 2018.
Vaccine Products and Age Indications:
The vaccine product for the provincially funded program is Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIV) for Albertans 6 months of age and older. The vaccine supplied will be Fluzone® or FluLaval® Tetra.
Age of Administration Changes:
Pharmacists may administer influenza vaccine to Albertans 5 years of age and older.
Important considerations to note:
- Children who are younger than nine years of age and have never received a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine require two doses with a minimum spacing of four weeks between doses.
- A review of the child’s immunization record can be viewed in Netcare.
- Pharmacists immunizing children 5-8 years of age should be comfortable with appropriate restraint and distraction techniques and be prepared to respond to an emergency event (e.g. anaphylaxis).
- Pharmacists must submit claims to Alberta Blue Cross within three business days. However, claims for doses administered to a child 5-8 years of age should be entered as a priority to prevent delays in updating the child’s immunization record to ensure accuracy of the immunization schedule and history. It takes about two weeks for the immunization record entered into Alberta Blue Cross to be viewed in Netcare.
Supportive Living Facilities:
In previous years, Pharmacists have not been able to immunize residents in Supportive Living Facilities where Alberta Health Services (AHS) Public Health was providing the service. For the 2018-19 season, Supportive Living Facilities can now choose the provider they would like to use. Supportive Living Facilities have been made aware of this change and may reach out to the pharmacy connected to their facility with whom they have established a professional relationship. If the pharmacy is unable to provide immunization services, then AHS Public Health will continue to offer the service at the request of the Supportive Living Facility.
The 2018-2019 Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy will be posted on the Alberta Immunization Policy website and the RxA Annual Influenza Education Module will be posted by September. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Influenza Immunization Program
The Influenza Immunization Program’s website includes information for the public, facts about influenza, and AHS Influenza clinics.
The site also includes a section for healthcare professionals, which features the influenza vaccine provider registration form and ordering, information specifically for pharmacists, general references, and monthly newsletters.
Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy
The Government of Alberta’s Influenza Immunization Policy for the 2017/18 influenza season includes information about the purpose of the policy, Alberta’s targets for influenza immunization, who is eligible, supply, distribution and administration of vaccine, cold chain management, adverse events, and recording and reporting requirements.
For more information or to read the policy, visit the Alberta Health website.
ACP’s Alberta Influenza Program Resource Guide for Pharmacists
This resource guide covers areas such as authorization to administer vaccines by injection, assessing patients prior to administering an immunization, obtaining informed consent, health and safety surveillance, reporting requirements, accountability, and storage and handling of vaccines.
RxA Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Program 2017/18 – Online Course
This online course provides an overview of policies and procedures for pharmacists participating in the delivery of publicly funded influenza vaccine.
Can pharmacists administer influenza vaccine outside of a pharmacy?
Yes. However, there are some restrictions. For a complete list of potential locations, requirements, and restrictions, refer to page 14 (appendix) of the Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy.
Keep in mind that the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians still apply when providing a pharmacy service outside of a pharmacy. In particular, note Principle 4.6 of the Code of Ethics regarding patient privacy, and Standards 16 through 18 regarding ensuring proper procedures and environment (Standard 16), ensuring patient safety (Standard 17), and creating and maintaining patient records (Standard 18).
Pharmacists should submit claims to Alberta Blue Cross within three business days of providing the service.
Cold Chain Management
Appropriate storage and handling is essential to provide potent biological products to the public. Detailed requirements are outlined in the Alberta Vaccine Cold Chain Policy (AVCCP).
Report all cold chain excursions as soon as possible and within one business day of the occurrence.
As per the Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy, “Immunizers must have protocols in place for management and reporting of anaphylaxis and other serious adverse events.”
All Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) of influenza vaccine must be reported to AHS as soon as possible using the AEFI form found on page 10 of the Influenza Immunization Policy.
For further information, please refer to Standard 5.3 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians regarding reporting requirements for adverse reactions, and Standard 6.4 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies regarding reporting requirements for adverse reactions.
Also, as outlined in Standard 16, a pharmacist who administers a drug, blood product, or vaccine must have policies and procedures for handling emergencies.
The Incident Analysis Process Summary and Quick Reference Guide is a great resource.
This vaccine will not be available as part of the provincially funded influenza immunization program for 2017/18. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended that either injectable vaccine or FLUMIST® can be used for children two to 17 years of age. FLUMIST® is no longer considered the preferential vaccine for this age group. For guidelines on how to administer FLUMIST®, click here. And for more information on who can administer FLUMIST®, click here.
If you administer FLUMIST®, you must take all steps necessary to ensure it is administered safely, including monitoring after administration, documentation, and communication with other healthcare professionals. Once again, if your patient experiences an adverse reaction, you must report it. And, as outlined above, you must have policies and procedures in place for handling emergencies.
Remember, you have a responsibility to make patients and their families aware of the universal publicly funded influenza immunization program before offering any alternative that is not included in the public program. As instructed in the Code of Ethics, all pharmacists must provide each patient with any information that the patient needs to make informed decisions about their health and health care, and discuss that information with the patient (Principle 2, Statement 3).
What if I’m not participating in the program?
Even if you don't administer vaccine, you can still play a key role in immunizations as educators and facilitators. We urge you to provide your patients with accurate information regarding influenza immunizations, including referral to an AHS Public Health immunization clinic, particularly for those patients in high risk groups. You can find more information on the AHS website.
Questions regarding the Influenza Immunization Program or Policy?
Email Alberta Health at: email@example.com
Infection control for Regulated Professionals: Pharmacists' edition via Ontario College of Pharmacists