Are You Ready for the 2019/2020 Flu Season?
As flu season approaches, make sure you’re prepared to provide immunizations by reviewing the College’s Drug Administration Certification requirements.
Influenza is an infection of the upper airway caused by the influenza virus that can spread easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing or face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from a cough or sneeze on another person or object, and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Getting sick with influenza also puts patients at risk of other infections including viral or bacterial pneumonia, which affect the lungs.
Important Information for the Public during Flu Season
Did you know that the College’s Drug Administration Certification requirement ensures that qualified community pharmacists can safely provide flu shots in BC?
With over 4400 Pharmacists certified to provide drug administration in BC and approximately 95% of community pharmacies in BC currently operating with at least one Certified Drug Administration pharmacist on site, pharmacies offering this service can help the public to protect itself from the annual flu virus. Pharmacists with this authority follow the Standards, Limits and Conditions for Drug Administration by Injection and Intranasal Route set out by the College of Pharmacists of BC to safely administer flu shots.
In BC, influenza vaccines are provided free to people who are at high risk of serious illness from influenza (such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions), those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk, and people who provide essential community services.
- For more information, including a list of people eligible for a free inactivated influenza vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC File: Inactivated Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
- Anyone who is not eligible for a free influenza vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.
FluMist®Quadrivalent (AstraZeneca) is not available for use in Canada for the 2019-2020 influenza season. Therefore, no live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is available in Canada for this season. Further information is available on the Drug Shortages Canada website.
Visit your closest community pharmacy for more information on pharmacist administered flu vaccinations. You can also take a look at Immunize BC’s Influenza Clinic Locator or call HealthLink BC at 811 to find your nearest public vaccination clinic.
Information for Pharmacists with Injection Authority
In order to administer immunizations, pharmacist registrants must have Drug Administration Certification. As flu season is approaching, the College would like to remind registrants about a few things related to their Drug Administration Certification.
In order to provide immunizations to patients:
You must have a valid (current) Drug Administration Certification before immunizing any patient.
To confirm whether you have a valid Drug Administration Certification, go to the registrant (pharmacist) directory on the College’s website, found at “Find a Pharmacy or Registrant” link on the top of the website (or click here for a complete list of registrants). Note the status under the column “Authorized for Drug Administration”.
Pharmacy managers should also confirm their pharmacist staff’s Drug Administration Certification status on a regular basis using the same directory.
You must have a valid (current) certification in first aid AND Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
Registrants must have valid and current certifications in both first aid and CPR in order to obtain, and maintain, their Drug Administration Certification. If either your first aid or CPR certification expires, your Drug Administration Certification will become invalid.
It is important for registrants to check the expiry dates of their first aid and CPR certifications regularly, and to ensure that they renew these certifications before they expire.
Pharmacy managers should ensure that each of their immunizing pharmacists has a valid Drug Administration Certification as well as a valid CPR Certification.
You must have provided immunization (by injection/intranasal route), or completed an approved drug administration training course in the preceding three years in order to maintain your Drug Administration Certification.
If you are approaching 3 years since you last provided an immunization or completed an approved drug administration training course, you must re-complete a Board-approved drug administration training course or provide another immunization (by injection/intranasal route) to maintain your Drug Administration Certification.
Understand and be familiar with the standards, limits and conditions associated with your Drug Administration Certification for drug administration by injection and intranasal route. They can be found in the HPA Bylaw Schedule F Part 4 – Certified Practice – Drug Administration By Injection And Intranasal Route Standards, Limits And Conditions.
- Flu Season and the Role of BC's Pharmacists in Vaccine Administration
- Guest Post: Provincial Influenza Immunization Campaign – What you need to know
- HealthLinkBC File: Inactivated Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
- HPA Bylaw Schedule F Part 4 – Certified Practice – Drug Administration By Injection And Intranasal Route Standards, Limits And Conditions.
- Immunize BC – Influenza
- BC Pharmacy Association – Influenza
- ImmunizeBC Flu Locator
- Pharmacists & Publicly Funded Vaccines in B.C.–General Information
- BCCDC 2019/20 Seasonal Influenza Vaccines