‘Over 98 per cent of pharmacies are equipped to handle the distribution and storage of refrigerated and frozen vaccines’
The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) is urging the federal government to offer pharmacy a seat at the table for upcoming discussions on COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.
“There are over 42,000 pharmacists in Canada, and most Canadians live within five kilometres of their local pharmacy, making them the most accessible healthcare provider,” said Sandra Hanna, pharmacist and CEO of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies). “Pharmacies across Canada are ready to hit the ground running, as most already offer immunization programs for the flu and over 98 per cent of pharmacies are equipped to handle the distribution and storage of refrigerated and frozen vaccines.”
The group said its expertise and experience in vaccine supply chain management and providing immunizations will be essential to the success of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
A recent survey conducted by Neighbourhood Pharmacies found that the top three criteria for a successful pharmacy immunization campaign identified by pharmacies were:
- Clear, consistent and frequent public service announcements regarding patient prioritization and instructions for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
- Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through the current pharmaceutical distribution system
- Early vaccination of pharmacists and pharmacy staff as frontline healthcare workers and immunizers
Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine, the federal government announced on Monday.
These doses are part of the up to 76 million doses Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Pfizer.
Also, the government has awarded a contract to FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc., for an end-to-end COVID-19 logistics solution for COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Government of Canada continues to follow an aggressive strategy to ensure that Canadians have access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Anita Anand, minister of public services and procurement. “I am pleased to announce this important new contract with FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc. which will help save lives and end the spread of COVID-19. This contract helps to ensure that when a vaccine is ready, Canada is ready too.”
Recently, the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) backed a report from the province’s auditor that accused the government Premier Doug Ford of “delays and confusion in decision-making” in its response to the pandemic.
In May, workers’ union SEIU Healthcare called on Ford to immediately commission a public inquiry, pursuant to section 3 of the Public Inquiries Act, to investigate the deaths of residents and frontline workers in long-term care facilities in the province.