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Canadian pharmacists journal publishes NB-IRDT research on pharmacist-administered vaccines

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Aug 8, 2023

Category: DataNB

An NB-IRDT research study recently published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal projects the health and economic outcomes of using public funding to cover the cost of pharmacists administering pneumonia vaccines (Pneu23) and tetanus boosters (Td/Tdap) to New Brunswick adults (19 years and up).

While NB pharmacists are able to provide a wide range of immunizations, many of these are not covered by public funding. NB Medicare, for instance, only covers the costs of pharmacists administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, as well as pneumonia vaccines for seniors aged 65+.

We often see examples of services being added to pharmacists’ scope of practice without public funding to pay for them, even when the same services are covered when provided by a physician,” explains Principal Investigator and Registered Pharmacist, Dr. Chris Folkins.

“While the addition of these services to the scope of practice is a great step forward, it is unlikely that their full benefits to the public and the healthcare system will be realized without Medicare coverage, as the requirement to pay out of pocket represents a barrier to access for many individuals.”

To help understand what those benefits might entail, Dr. Folkins launched this study in 2021. It began as part of NB-IRDT’s Pathways to Professions experiential learning program and became the first project in the VitalSignsNB research stream – an ongoing initiative of health-focused projects undertaken by NB undergraduate students under Dr. Folkins’ leadership. The study used administrative health data accessed via NB-IRDT to compare projected outcomes of a physician-only vaccination model and a blended (physician + pharmacist) vaccination model to examine the impact that funding a blended model could have on the number of immunizations provided, physician hours saved, and healthcare costs saved.

To learn more about the project and to see Dr. Folkins’s findings, read the full journal article or see the one-page summary for a quick overview of results.