Last fall’s pilot program that provided direct distribution of flu vaccines to some pharmacies in the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) will not be extended for this upcoming flu season. All pharmacies across the province, including VIHA, that provide publicly funded flu vaccinations will have to pick up flu vaccine from their local health unit.
While the Association has expressed its support for the direct distribution of vaccine model, the Ministry has indicated that pharmacies would have to absorb the distribution costs. This is an unacceptable precedent. As such, we have advised the Ministry that community pharmacy will continue with the existing system of picking up vaccines for the 2014/15 flu season. We will continue to work with the Ministry and other stakeholders to make direct distribution happen.
More specific information about the publicly funded flu program will be released in the coming weeks. Pharmacists are asked to refrain from calling local health units for flu updates as more information will be shared soon.