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Increasingly, pharmacies are flu shot destination in Ontario
March 26th, 2014
TORONTO – In Ontario, consumers are embracing the idea of getting a flu shot at a pharmacy.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association reported Tuesday that more than 750,000 Ontarians — triple the number from last season — received the free flu vaccination at nearly 2,000 pharmacies throughout the province this flu season (2013-14). Several weeks remain in the flu season, which in Canada generally runs from mid-October to mid-April.
Over 250,000 Ontarians got a flu shot at a pharmacy in the 2012-13 flu season, the first season in which approved Ontario pharmacies were able to administer the flu vaccine.
"We're delighted by the success of the flu shot program," Dennis Darby, chief executive officer of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said in a statement. "The growth in the number of people who received the flu shot at a pharmacy this season is a testament to the fact that Ontarians have a high level of trust in their pharmacist to provide convenient, high quality health care services. It's a win for the public and government."
Pharmacists in Ontario began administering publicly funded flu shots in October 2012 under province's Universal Influenza Immunization Program. Earlier that month, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approved regulations that widened the scope of services that pharmacists could provide to consumers, including flu immunizations.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association noted that flu shots are a linchpin of efforts to expand the health care role of pharmacists.
In a 2013 Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of the association, only 53% of Ontarians polled were aware that pharmacists do more than dispense medication. The full range of services that pharmacists are qualified to provide now ranges from medication management and the flu shot to support, information and education about chronic conditions (such as high blood pressure and diabetes) and common ailments.