New provincial rules give flu fight a shot in the arm

The option of getting a free flu shot at a pharmacy is a welcome injection of convenience, says Sofia Baraz.

In a move aimed at fending off the flu, the provincial government began allowing pharmacists to administer the shots on Oct. 22.

“It is easier now because every year it is hard to find places to get flu shots,” said Baraz, a pharmacy customer at the Warden Avenue and Ellesmere Road Costco store. “Waiting for a family doctor appointment may take a while, but now I can just use this as an advantage because this pharmacy is so close by to me.

“Also, because of this problem with finding a place to get my flu shot in the past, I would miss out on getting the vaccination, so this would really help me a lot.”

It’s a win-win, said Costco pharmacist Sherry, who asked that her last name not be published.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s going to build a lot more rapport with the patients. It’s going to get the patients to trust the pharmacists a little bit more, in terms of injecting you and giving you medicine, and it will bring in a lot more business into the pharmacy.”

Pharmacists had to go through a three-step process in order to be licensed to do these vaccinations, Sherry said.

“You have to have your first aid/CPR certificate that has to be a valid certificate, which would be valid for the next three years,” she said. “Then, you would have to go through a certification program like the OPA [Ontario Pharmacists Association], where you would have to complete modules online.

“And then you go in for a one-day live-training, where they basically teach you the technique of how to give the injections.”

Though the shots are free to customers, pharmacist are paid $7.50 per flu shot administered.