B.C. pharmacist immunization initiative wins award

Media Release: March 26, 2012

The Pharmacists and Immunization Working Group (PIWG) is the winner of the Third Annual BC Quality Awards under the category of Staying Healthy. PIWG members include Drs. Fawziah Marra and Glenda MacDonald of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health, BC Pharmacy Association, College of Pharmacists of BC, BC Centre for Disease Control, and other regional health authorities.

The mandate of PIWG is to support an expanded scope of practice for pharmacists to administer immunizations. This involves ensuring sufficient numbers of qualified service providers are accessible to meet immunization needs and supporting pharmacists in raising awareness of the benefits of immunization programs. In 2010/11, PIWG facilitated pharmacist participation in a provincial campaign that vaccinated more than 48,000 B.C. residents against the influenza virus. This year, more than 100,000 B.C. residents were vaccinated by pharmacists.

"The PIWG initiative demonstrates how vital pharmacists are to interdisciplinary health care teams," says Robert Sindelar, dean, UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "The work of this group not only improves overall public health but seeks to lower costs to the health care system."

Presented by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, the Annual BC Quality Awards recognize individuals, health care teams and facilities for improving the quality of care in B.C. For more information, visit bcpsqc.ca/celebrating/awards.html.

Established in 1946, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia advances knowledge, health outcomes and the profession of pharmacy leading to enhanced societal benefit and optimal patient care. With more than 5,000 alumni, the Faculty specializes in pharmacy education, research and practice.

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