Status: This project is in progress

applied health research question influenza vaccine deliveryInfluenza results in morbidity and mortality, work absenteeism, lost productivity and earnings. Annually, this contagious respiratory disease causes an estimated 3,500 deaths in Canada, and some 270 deaths and 620,000 incidents of healthcare use in Ontario. Influenza vaccination is the most effective mechanism to combat influenza, but vaccine coverage in Ontario remains suboptimal.

In 2000, the Government of Ontario initiated the Universal Influenza Immunization Program to provide free influenza vaccines for the population over six months of age from a number of healthcare providers. In 2012, community pharmacists were included in this program.

Although injection-certified pharmacists in community pharmacies are permitted to administer influenza vaccine independently, vaccine distribution issues have created barriers for community pharmacists to provide this service to their patients.

This study will document different models of influenza vaccine distribution to community pharmacies through Ontario public health units, understand the barriers and challenges as well as benefits to certain distribution models, and assess how models of distribution may have affected patients, pharmacists and pharmacies.

Research questions
  1. How is the influenza vaccine distributed to community pharmacies in Ontario?
  2. What are the barriers of different models of distribution, and what practices have been most successful?
  3. How have different models of distribution potentially affected patients, pharmacies and pharmacists?

The expected impact of this project is to better understand and improve vaccine distribution practices in Ontario. Findings will be shared with key stakeholders, including policy-makers at the Ontario Pharmacists Association, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ontario College of Pharmacists.

Primary knowledge user: Allan Malek, Senior Vice President, Professional Affairs, Ontario Pharmacists Association

Project lead: Nancy Waite

For more information about this applied health research question, please contact Annie Lok, AHRQ administrator.