Did you know pharmacists in Nova Scotia have delivered more than 280,000 flu shots since 2013? Pharmacists are your medication experts! Part of a pharmacist’s job is to give needed vaccines and other injectable medications. Vaccines, non-prescription items, and some prescribed medication may be prescribed and injected at the pharmacy to anyone five years of age or older.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I expect if I receive my flu shot from my pharmacist?
- Like other health care providers, your pharmacist will review your medical history, including allergies and past responses to immunizations, and examine the area where the immunization will be given, to assess if the immunization is right for you
- The pharmacist will provide information about the immunization and answer any questions you may have
- If you and the pharmacist decide the immunization is right for you, then you will be asked to sign a consent form
- Once the pharmacist has prepared the immunization, it will be administered in your upper arm
- It is best to wear short sleeves or clothing that will allow for easy exposure of the upper arm and shoulder
- You will be asked to stay in the pharmacy for approximately 15 minutes after the immunization to ensure that you do not have any adverse reactions to the immunization. If you do have a reaction to the immunization, the pharmacist is trained to manage the treatment of the reaction
- Your pharmacist will notify your primary health care provider (e.g., your family physician) with details on the immunization provided
What is the role of pharmacists in immunization?
- In August of 2013, a new Pharmacy Act came into effect in Nova Scotia authorizing pharmacists to administer drugs by injection, including immunizations
- Pharmacists are medication experts and are a valuable source of information regarding various drugs and diseases, including immunization
- Pharmacists are conveniently located with extended hours and are easily accessible
- Pharmacists are able to screen patients to identify those who would benefit from certain immunizations and, upon appropriate training and certification may prescribe and administer these immunizations
What qualifications do pharmacists have to immunize?
- Licensed pharmacists in Nova Scotia may administer immunizations if they have completed an approved immunization and injection training program, have current First Aid and CPR certification, and have obtained a permit to administer drugs by injection from the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists
Which immunizations can pharmacists administer?
- Authorized pharmacists may administer many immunizations, including those for the prevention of seasonal influenza, hepatitis A and B, herpes zoster (“Shingles”), human papilloma virus (HPV), and some travel vaccinations
- Patients must be 2 years of age or older and have no contraindications to receiving the specified vaccine
- Please contact your pharmacy if you have any questions on which vaccines and medications pharmacists may administer by injection
Do all community pharmacies offer immunization services?
- Most pharmacies in Nova Scotia provide immunization services
- To see a list of pharmacies providing the flu shot, please visit the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia website “Find a Pharmacy” webpage
- Please contact your pharmacy for more information regarding immunization services available
Do I need to make an appointment?
- Depending on the pharmacy that you visit, some will be able to provide “walk-in” immunization services, while others may require appointments. Please contact your pharmacy for more information
Will I need to pay to receive an immunization by my pharmacist?
- There is no charge to you to receive a flu shot at your pharmacy
- Currently, flu shots are the only publicly funded immunization that pharmacists may provide in Nova Scotia. Other immunizations may be provided by your pharmacist and may be covered by your private drug plan, health spending account, or other medical benefits plan
- For information on specific costs for immunization services please contact your pharmacy
For more information on immunization and the role of pharmacists as immunizers in Nova Scotia: