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Saskatchewan pharmacists added to Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan

Saskatchewan pharmacists will be delivering the COVID-19 vaccine through community pharmacies in Phase 2 of the provincial immunization plan. Danica Ferris / Global News

Saskatchewan pharmacists have been called upon by the province to play a key role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

The Saskatchewan government announced on Monday pharmacists will be delivering vaccines through community pharmacies in Phase 2 of the province’s immunization plan.

“We appreciate that Saskatchewan pharmacists are ready to step up and deliver the COVID-19 vaccine,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said.

Read more: Saskatchewan rolls out plan for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations

“The Government of Saskatchewan is working hard to make sure COVID-19 vaccine is safely delivered into the arms of Saskatchewan residents through all possible avenues.”

Details of the plan are currently being developed including which community pharmacies will be participating in the largest mass vaccination campaign in Saskatchewan history.

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“We are proud to join other health care professionals in providing safe, timely access to COVID-19 vaccinations for Saskatchewan residents,” said George Furneaux, Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan (PAS) board chair.

Read more: Scott Moe advocating for consistent supply of vaccines, information from feds

The news comes on the same day the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and PAS negotiated a one-year tentative pharmacy proprietor agreement beginning March 1.

Details of the agreement include:

  • The maximum professional (dispensing) fee has been adjusted by 25 cents, from $11.60 to $11.85 per prescription, the first increase since 2018. This change recognizes the increasing complexities and costs related to safe drug therapy and distribution faced by pharmacists every day;
  • A COVID Vaccine Administration fee of $20 for the duration of the agreement, in recognition of our current exceptional conditions, will be implemented. This remuneration recognizes both the expanding role of pharmacists in primary health care, and the sector’s significant and sustained investment in adapting operations to ensure safe patient care as the pandemic enters its second year;
  • A retroactive $2 increase in the flu administration fee (to $15) for the 2020 – 2021 flu season and an increase to $14 (from $13) per flu vaccination for the upcoming flu season;
  • To support patient access to medications in the event of drug shortages, the contract also includes strengthening the Therapeutic Drug Substitution program to include more support tools, including remuneration, for pharmacists to use in exceptional situations such as drug shortages.

Read more: Canada’s pharmacies ‘ready and willing’ to join coronavirus vaccination effort

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“The new agreement acknowledges the growing role of the pharmacy sector in advancing effective primary health care delivery in Saskatchewan. It further advances our longstanding commitment to the province’s connected care strategy,” Furneaux said.

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan rolls out plan for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations' Saskatchewan rolls out plan for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations
Saskatchewan rolls out plan for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations – Feb 10, 2021

“In the early months of the pandemic, pharmacists willingly stepped up and invested in modifying their operations to serve patients safely close to home.

“It’s encouraging to see that this contract acknowledges both our contribution and our commitment to patient care in collaboration with our colleagues in health care.”

More information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine delivery strategy can be found on Saskatchewan website.