Immunization services offered in Québec (Canada) pharmacies

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Canadian Pharmacists are easy to reach. Although Québec pharmacists are not allowed to administer vaccines, they can: (1) promote vaccination, (2) counsel patients on vaccination, (3) sell vaccines and (4) provide vaccine administration by a nurse. Our objectives were to describe immunization services given in Québec pharmacies and assess the potential relation between, on one hand, pharmacy characteristics and difficulties perceived by pharmacists and, on the other hand, vaccine administration. In 2008-09, an anonymous questionnaire was mailed to all Québec pharmacy owners (n = 1663). Among the 1102 (66%) respondents, 90% stated that vaccines were sold, 27% that a nurse administered vaccines in their pharmacy and 44% were planning to offer vaccine administration in the next five years. Three out of four stated they were doing vaccine promotion and 65%, vaccine counselling. Half of respondents said they would be willing to administer vaccines themselves if legislative modifications were made. Recommendations for cold chain maintenance were followed in 23% of pharmacies selling vaccines. Presence of another health professional in the pharmacy, higher number of opening hours, not being located in the same building than a medical clinic and having an agreement to collaborate with a public health unit or a medical clinic for immunization were positively associated with vaccine administration in multivariate analysis. Higher perceived difficulties with lack of demand from patients were negatively associated with vaccine administration. Most pharmacists are willing to increase their involvement in immunization. Collaboration between public health professionals and pharmacists should be reinforced.

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