President's Message: Thank you for a year of many firsts

Updated on November 5, 2021 (Originally posted on November 1, 2021) The Tablet

With 2021 coming to an end, it is time for me to reflect on my term as president of the Board of the BC Pharmacy Association. A year of working during a pandemic has presented us with many firsts.

In March there was an urgent request from the B.C. government to begin a COVID-19 vaccine campaign in community pharmacies. The BCPhA Board, along with pharmacy companies, agreed to step up. We began administering COVID-19 vaccines within a very short timeline. This was a historic decision. Since then, BCPhA has continued to work directly with the provincial government vaccination team to advocate for pharmacy involvement in COVID-19 vaccine administration.

We have just completed our first COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. We are now prepared for the involvement of all pharmacies in B.C. These pharmacists will be able to provide booster shots and if asked, provide immunizations to children aged 5-11 years old. This campaign will be unlike anything we have been involved with previously, and could not have been possible without the effort of our pharmacists and the work that was done by BCPhA staff.

This year I also had the honour of administering the one of the first COVID-19 vaccines in a community pharmacy. I felt a sense of pride for all pharmacists of B.C., knowing that patients receiving this vaccine were truly grateful, excited, and relieved. 

Over 400 members attended our first Virtual Conference, featuring Dr. Martin Lavoie, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Mitch Moneo, Assistant Deputy Minister, Pharmaceutical, Laboratory and Blood Services Division and Trish Tutton, public speaker and Mindfulness Teacher.

Our Town Halls were extremely well attended. The July Town Hall began with a message from Minister Adrian Dix, stating that the BCPhA has stepped up every time they have asked, and that he wanted to say thank pharmacists for all you have done, and for the continuing work you do. 

By the time of publishing, we will be in full swing of the 2021/2022 Flu campaign, which for the first time will have a co-ordinated launch date. This year, we will see direct distribution of flu vaccines to all pharmacies in B.C. from all pharmacy wholesalers. These new initiatives will improve efficiencies, access, and allow fair and equitable distribution.

In the next few weeks, I look forward to welcoming the incoming board members: pharmacists who will lend their voice, beliefs, and experience to the profession of pharmacy. 

Thank you to my fellow BCPhA Board members, pharmacist members and the BCPhA team for working through all these firsts. This exceptional work will allow us to advance the practice of pharmacy for community pharmacists and pharmacies across B.C. 

Annette Robinson
BC Pharmacy Association

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