In the previous issue of ReadLinks, we received some questions regarding immunization. After the feedback we feel the need to further clarify some issues that we have identified within the article.
Note: please see the corrected example below (01/16/2015)
In the Drug Schedules, a Schedule 2 Vaccine is defined as follows:
- vaccines which are part of a routine immunization program,
- vaccines requiring special enhanced public access due to disease outbreaks
- cholera vaccine (oral, inactivated) when used for prophylaxis against traveler’s diarrhea due to enterotoxigenic escherichia coli (ETEC).
The confusion may arise due to the interpretation of the word “program”. The word “program” is not limited to publicly funded programs. “Vaccines which are part of a routine immunization program” apply to any immunization usage recommended for the prevention of disease by any provincial, national or international organization (such as the BC Centre for Disease Control or National Advisory Committee on Immunization). Therefore, if the pharmacist has the knowledge, skills and abilities to identify the patients need for a vaccine, then he or she may provide it under Schedule 2. Pharmacists must ensure they document their rationale and decision to sell, dispense or administer an injection.
For example: Zostavax is presently not part of the BC’s publicly funded program, however the BCCDC does recommended Zostavax for individuals over 50 for the prevention of herpes zoster in patients with prior chickenpox infection. Therefore, it would be considered Schedule 2 for this indication.
Also note that a pharmacist may not inject other drugs such as B vitamins unless they have consent from the patient and a delegated authority from that patient’s physician. A delegated authority is an authorization issued by the College of Physicians and Surgeons under a medical directive from a physician to a qualified individual. You should also note that a Schedule 1 drug still requires a prescription from a practitioner, regardless of any medical directive. This authority cannot be delegated.