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October 29, 2015 14:00 ET

Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan: Pharmacists Provide Convenient Access To Flu Shots

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - Oct. 29, 2015) - Saskatchewan is expanding its influenza immunization program by providing people 9 years of age and older access to flu shots through community pharmacists.

"This additional option makes it easier for our residents to get a free flu shot. It means more access, choice and convenience," Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.

"I want to thank Saskatchewan pharmacists for providing this important service and helping us protect the health of our residents."

Approximately 800 pharmacists in about 65 communities, representing over 250 of the 360 community pharmacies in the province are trained so far to provide flu vaccinations.

Pharmacists will administer injectable flu vaccine only, at community pharmacies, to residents nine years of age and older with a valid Saskatchewan Health Services Card. Children under nine will need to be vaccinated at a public health clinic. FluMist®, a flu vaccine that is administered nasally, is only available from public health clinics. Patients wanting FluMist® should check flu clinic dates and times through their local regional health authority.

Access and convenience can make or break a resident's decision to get the flu shot. Businessman and Chair of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Randy Beattie says that given his busy work and life schedule, getting a flu shot by a pharmacist is a secure decision. "I trust pharmacists," says Beattie. "Given that the average flu season causes a loss of 1.5 million working days in Canada, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce encourages businesses, employees and residents to get the flu shot to protect themselves and others."

Lindsay Karst, pharmacist/owner of the Medicine Shoppe says, "Pharmacists are uniquely suited to not only administer influenza vaccinations, but also provide helpful tips and information. When individuals are picking up prescriptions, it provides us with the perfect opportunity to remind patients about flu shots."

Pharmacists must complete approximately 30 hours of theoretical and live training before receiving certification from the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals to administer the flu vaccine. This training is in addition to Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certification that is also mandatory for pharmacists to obtain.

According to the World Health Organization, immunization saves between two and three million lives globally each year. Not only do vaccines save lives, they also save the Canadian health care system money by reducing the number of people requiring acute care.

Getting vaccinated is particularly recommended to people at high risk of complications from influenza:

  • pregnant women;
  • young children;
  • the elderly; and
  • persons with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.

Please visit www.skpharmacists.ca/patients for a list of pharmacies offering the flu vaccination service.

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