Notice to Members: Community Pharmacy and COVID-19 Vaccines

January 12, 2021 News

In recent days, many of you have likely seen lots of media about B.C. pharmacy’s role in administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the province.

What has been reported may make it seem unclear what community pharmacy’s current and future role will be in providing these shots to British Columbians.

Community Pharmacists Will Be Involved

We would like to make it abundantly clear that B.C. community pharmacy will be involved at a much greater level during broader community rollout. And community pharmacists have already been supporting Health Authorities in delivering on their vaccination plans to high priority populations. But this role is at a much lesser extent than what will be expected for broad rollout. 

In the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine administration, which is happening now, the focus is on priority populations at public health clinics. In some of these instances B.C.’s community pharmacists are performing the vaccine administrations already. So, it’s important to remember that pharmacists are indeed putting shots in some British Columbians’ arms, right now.

Once larger public immunization begins, community pharmacists will be involved. There has been no date set, as it is dependent on vaccine supply and availability. 

This rollout is not like the public flu shot program. Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when is entirely determined by the Province.

This determination will be based partly on age, but other factors as well. The BC Pharmacy Association has heard of pharmacies starting waiting lists. Putting people on lists does not guarantee they will get the COVID-19 vaccine, and this could create unrealistic public expectation. 

As you are likely having patients asking about when they could expect their vaccine, please direct them to the BCCDC’s website.