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Projected outcomes of an expanded role for pharmacy professionals in the provision of publicly funded immunization services in New Brunswick

Author: Chris Folkins, Madeleine Gorman-Asal, Sandra Magalhaes, Clark Brewster, Adrienne Gulliver, Paramdeep Singh, Rebecca Foster, Pablo Miah, Emily Thomson, Ted McDonald
Year: 2021
Category: Health Publications

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New Brunswick (NB) legislation permits pharmacy professionals (pharmacists, and as of 2021, registered pharmacy technicians) to administer a wide range of immunizations to their patients. Many vaccines in New Brunswick are publicly funded and available at no charge to patients when administered by a physician or nurse practitioner; however, the majority of these vaccines are not publicly funded when administered by pharmacy professionals, even though legislation permits their administration.

Currently, only vaccines against influenza and COVID-19 are publicly funded when administered by pharmacy professionals in NB. This creates a scenario in which patients wishing to take advantage of the convenience and accessibility offered by pharmacy-based vaccination services must pay for most vaccinations (including drug costs and service administration fees) out of pocket – even when, in the case of publicly funded vaccines, these same vaccinations are available through a physician at no cost to the patient.

This situation represents a barrier to accessible health services, particularly for NB residents who do not have access to a primary care provider, and a missed opportunity to take advantage of the full scope of practice of NB’s pharmacy professionals. By expanding the repertoire of publicly funded vaccinations that can be administered by pharmacy professionals, it is hypothesized that cost savings, improved health outcomes, and improved access to care could be realized in New Brunswick.

The main objective of this study is to understand how expanding the number of publicly funded vaccines pharmacy professionals can administer would impact provincial spending, access to care, and health outcomes in New Brunswick.

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