In anticipation of a predicted fall virus surge, Ontario is preparing to allow pharmacists to prescribe flu medication, deliver flu injections to babies, and administer RSV vaccines when they become available.
The Ministry of Health is seeking comments from the Ontario College of Pharmacists on new draft regulations, but only has a two-week comment period as the respiratory virus season approaches.
The new laws would allow pharmacists to give Tamiflu, an influenza treatment, to patients above the age of one year. Since December, pharmacists have been able to prescribe Paxlovid to treat COVID-19, and the Ontario Pharmacists Association reports that more than 174,000 such prescriptions have been written.
In addition, once RSV vaccines are ready, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be able to give them.
Since 2020, pharmacists have been authorized to administer flu vaccines to people as young as two years old, down from the previous age cut-off of five, and the new guidelines would abolish age limitations, allowing babies to obtain flu injections at pharmacies.
The province also recommends allowing pharmacy professionals who can deliver COVID-19 vaccines to also provide HPV, hepatitis A and B, and rabies vaccines.