Skip to main content
Home » Advocacy » Immunization Awareness » Vaccination Destination: Leveraging Pharmacy to Increase Canadian Immunization Rates
Immunization Awareness

Vaccination Destination: Leveraging Pharmacy to Increase Canadian Immunization Rates

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role of routine vaccination in protecting the health of Canadians. Despite concerted efforts, Canada has yet to meet its national vaccination coverage goals for adults. Recent data reveals that a concerning 1 in 4 adults have either missed or is unsure if they have missed, a routine vaccination for themselves or their child. This has led to concerning resurgences of once well-controlled viruses like meningitis and measles and should serve as a stark warning of the urgent need for action to bolster vaccination rates and fortify the resilience of our healthcare system.


Compounding these challenges is the nationwide struggle among Canadians to access timely primary care, placing considerable strain on healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses, who are already grappling with staff shortages and burnout.

Amidst these challenges, neighbourhood pharmacy teams have emerged as crucial allies in the fight against entirely preventable illnesses. Sandra Hanna, CEO of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada shares, “Most Canadians live within five kilometres of a pharmacy and recent polling suggests that 70 per cent of Canadians support routine vaccinations being made available in local pharmacies.” Increasing vaccination opportunities at the pharmacy level not only makes good sense, but Canadians have told us that there is clear mandate for action. Hanna continues, “pharmacists, working alongside physicians and other healthcare providers can alleviate the strain on the healthcare system and enhance vaccine uptake nationwide.”

Throughout the pandemic, pharmacists have demonstrated agility, adaptability, and effectiveness in providing essential healthcare. They’ve administered over 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines and led seasonal flu vaccination campaigns for over a decade. Pharmacists are often the health care provider that Canadians interact with most and a recent poll commissioned by Neighbourhood Pharmacies confirms that Canadians trust their local pharmacists as a reliable source of vaccine information. This trust is fundamental to the unique opportunity pharmacists have to build relationships with patients and their families. With a deep understanding of patient care needs, pharmacists are adept at navigating challenging conversations, including those on vaccine hesitancy, with honesty, compassion, and education at the forefront.

So how can Canadians seize the opportunity for expanded vaccine access through pharmacies? At its core, there is a need for foundational scope of practice changes to facilitate pharmacist prescribing and vaccine administration nationwide. We have seen the feasibility of such changes in the significant uptick in pharmacy minor ailment prescribing and treatment across the country in recent years. Feedback from Canadians on these advancements in pharmacy scope of practice has been overwhelmingly positive, with many provincial governments viewing these programs as showcases of success. Our members and partners also consistently highlight the positive impact that increased vaccination and prescribing access at pharmacies has had in their communities. We are committed to sustaining this progress, and we know it works. 

Additionally, efforts to centralize immunization records, streamline vaccine distribution channels, and ensure that pharmacies continue to operate sustainably are critical steps in bolstering the pharmacy capacity to meet the growing demand for vaccinations.

National Immunization Awareness Week remind us of the imperative to prioritize routine vaccinations for all Canadians. Simplifying the vaccination process by enabling Canadians to receive vaccines at their local pharmacies, coupled with ensuring public funding for these services, would be significant stride towards a healthier population and a more resilient healthcare system. Together, let’s enable local pharmacies to be primary vaccination destinations, ensuring increased access and personalized care from expert immunizers. Let’s unite to actively safeguard the health of all Canadians for generations to come.

Learn more, visit

Next article