Seasonal influenza information

Influenza Vaccination Information

The 2017/18 influenza season is underway in Alberta.

All Albertans six months of age and older (including pregnant women) are eligible to receive the Fluzone® quadrivalent vaccine. However, pharmacists may only administer publicly funded influenza vaccine to patients nine years of age and older.

Fluad® trivalent vaccine is available for those 65 years of age and older living in long term care or supporting living facilities as per the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Outreach Program definition.

Important: Do NOT stockpile influenza vaccine. Same/next day distribution was put into place so that smaller orders could be received more frequently.

The following are resources you can use to guide you through participating in the publicly funded Influenza Immunization Program.

 

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).

 

Reporting requirements

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.

Send the Pharmacy Cold Chain Break Report Form to Alberta Health at health.imm@gov.ab.ca

 

Adverse Events

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.

 

FLUMIST®

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: health.imm@gov.ab.ca

 

Other resources

AHS vaccine storage and handling information

Alberta Health influenza information page 

List of AHS zone contacts for 2017/18 Influenza Immunization Program

Best Practice Guideline for Workplace Health & Safety During Pandemic Influenza

Infection control for Regulated Professionals: Pharmacists' edition via Ontario College of Pharmacists