A statement from the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada:
As Canada prepares for the school year to start, access to COVID-19 testing and influenza immunization are top of mind for the health and wellness of students, teachers, and their families.
Neighbourhood pharmacies can provide access to asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in convenient locations with extended hours, separate from those experiencing symptoms or who have had known contact with the virus. Alberta is now offering asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in pharmacies, and Ontario is on the path to the same delivery.
“We urge all provinces to empower pharmacists to provide point of care testing and specimen collection in partnership with laboratories to increase access,” says Sandra Hanna, pharmacist and CEO of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada. “To alleviate the strain on parts of the health system that are overloaded by COVID-19, it is critical to expand the scope of practice for pharmacists across the country, so that we can provide the care our patients need when and where they need it most.”
The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada also encourages all Canadians to get their influenza vaccine every year. With the potential of a second wave of COVID-19, it is particularly important to protect against co-circulating respiratory illnesses this fall.
With 11,000 pharmacies conveniently located in every neighbourhood across Canada, families can receive their annual influenza immunization at their local pharmacy. In recent years, community pharmacists provided over 3.2 million influenza vaccinations. Of all Canadians receiving a flu shot, 48% chose to receive it in their pharmacy.
Pharmacies are taking steps to ensure public health guidelines are followed, and physical distancing is maintained. The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada recommends Canadians ask their pharmacist about their process, as many are planning to schedule appointments to ensure the utmost safety for Canadians seeking to get their flu shot.