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Reflecting on 2021 and the pharmacy profession

Justin Bates, Ontario Pharmacists Association

As I reflect on 2021 it has been a taxing year on the #pharmacy profession & through it all #pharmacists have stepped up to help protect their communities & provided optimal patient care which gives us optimism for the future. I am privileged to represent & advocate on behalf of the sector & look forward to continuing the efforts in 2022. Consider renewing or getting a 2022 OPA membership as we pull together to support the profession. Our goal is to achieve greater scope with robust funding to give pharmacists options on how and what to implement in their practices. Here are some 2021 highlights:

• Delivered over 50+ professional development courses and certificate programs
• Conducted 12 Live Webinars
• Regular, live virtual townhalls to support members with vaccinations & testing best practices
• Timely & effective email
communications to keep members
apprised of regulatory & policy changes.
• Practice Support Network to support operationalizing COVID-19 vaccines in COVAXon system
• Authoring & updating FAQs, playbooks & tools to support vaccine administration
• 18 formal submission & proposals to govt

Some advocacy achievements during the pandemic:
• Expansion of scope for pharmacy professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccine by injection
• Pharmacists recognized as essential healthcare providers
• Successful advocacy work to enable registered pharmacy technicians to administer flu & COVID-19 vaccines
• Implementation of safe & voluntary COVID-19 testing in pharmacies including outdoor sample collection & take home PCR tests to help protect our communities
• Contactless care: enabling verbal consent
• Temporary exemption to prescribe controlled substances
• Virtual MedsChecks
• Extension of Rx for 12 months

UIIP (Flu program) advocacy initiatives
o Successful negotiation for increase in funding for influenza vaccinations through pharmacies
o High dose flu vaccine distribution to pharmacies
o Enabling pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine outside of the pharmacy
o Flu vaccine administration from two years of age
o Pharmacists access to government stockpile of PPE for the flu season

Future Focus
• Building momentum as pharmacy professionals demonstrate their critical role in the health care system to build capacity by focusing on minor ailments prescribing, routine immunizations and rapid POCT post
• Addressing the wellbeing of the pharmacy profession to support mental health and mitigate burnout
• Funding reform proposals to ensure appropriate compensation for dispensing and medication
management services
• Enhancing practice support for pharmacy professionals
• Continuing important work on inclusivity, equity, and diversity initiatives

AND leading class insurance solutions as we continue to ensure both professional and personal risks are proactively managed and covered through all the insurance programs specifically built for Pharmacy Professionals. Ontario Pharmacists Association