Seasonal influenza information
2022-23 Influenza vaccination information
The following is a message from Alberta Health:
Alberta Health Influenza Immunization Policy goals and objectives
The objectives of Alberta’s Influenza Immunization Policy (IIP) are
- to reduce the incidence and impact of influenza disease in Alberta,
- to have effective and safe influenza vaccines available for administration,
- to increase the coverage rates of targeted populations (listed below) annually, and
- for all people in Alberta to have access to provincially funded influenza vaccine.
The objectives of the IIP can be met when all health practitioners work together to implement the policy. Collaboration, coordination and communication among all health practitioners during all phases of the immunization program is critical to strengthen Alberta’s capacity to reduce the impact of influenza disease and contribute to the health and well-being of Albertans.
Administration of vaccine
The Alberta Influenza Immunization Program will begin on October 17, 2022, for the general public. The Alberta Outreach Program will occur before the general public program begins (earlier in October) as soon as vaccine becomes available. Based on the national influenza vaccine supply, it is estimated that all health practitioners will have vaccine in place by the week of October 17, 2022, to begin offering the vaccine to the general public. Any advertising or promotion of the availability of influenza vaccine for the general public must reference the start date of the program beginning October 17, 2022.
The Alberta Outreach Program focuses on providing influenza immunization services to those at highest risk of severe outcomes, hospitalization, and death due to influenza disease. Those living in seniors congregate settings are more likely to have underlying health conditions, which can increase risk and have less mobility to access immunization services in the community.
For more information on the Alberta Outreach Program, including eligible congregate living settings, and roles and responsibilities for providers (including information for pharmacy providers), refer to Section V of the Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy.
Consideration for spacing with COVID-19 vaccine is required
Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered to individuals five years of age and older in most cases on the same day using different injection sites and separate needles and syringes. A review of the client’s immunization record is required prior to administering either vaccine.
- SpikeVax (6m-5yr) vaccine should not routinely be administered on the same day with other live or inactivated vaccines.
- In the absence of evidence, it is recommended but not required to wait for a period of at least 14 days before and after the administration of COVID-19 vaccine and the administration of another vaccine, if it does not create a barrier to receipt of vaccines.
Alberta Health's Vaccination update provides more information on COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.
Influenza vaccine products
Standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated injectable influenza vaccine (SD-QIV) is the provincially funded vaccine available to Albertans six months of age and older. High-dose quadrivalent inactivated injectable vaccine (HD-QIV) will be available to individuals who are 65 years of age and older.
The Alberta Immunization Regulation sets out requirements to standardize practices for all immunization providers, regardless of whether a vaccine is provincially funded or privately purchased.
More information about the Immunization Regulation can be found on Alberta Health's Immunization Policy webpage. This page includes an updated Fluzone High-Dose Influenza Vaccine Information for Health Professionals document to include the addition of Fluzone HD vaccine for individuals 65 years of age or older who reside in provincially funded long-term care beds.
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Influenza Immunization Program
The Influenza Immunization Program’s website includes information for the public, facts about influenza, and AHS Influenza clinics.
The site also includes a section for healthcare professionals, which features the influenza vaccine provider registration form and ordering, information specifically for pharmacists, general references, and monthly newsletters.
Alberta Health has provided the following vaccine charts for the 2022-23 influenza season:
- Influenza Vaccine Quadrivalent Inactivated, and
- Influenza Vaccine High Dose Quadrivalent Inactivated.
More information about the Influenza Immunization Program can be found in the Alberta Blue Cross Pharmacy Benefact 1056 (dated September 2022).
Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy
The Government of Alberta’s Influenza Immunization Policy for the 2022-23 influenza season includes information about the purpose of the policy, Alberta’s targets for influenza immunization, who is eligible, supply, distribution and administration of vaccine, cold chain management, adverse events, and recording and reporting requirements.
For more information or to read the policy, visit the Alberta Health website.
Can pharmacists administer influenza vaccine outside of a pharmacy?
Yes. However, there are some restrictions. For a complete list of potential locations, requirements, and restrictions, refer to page 15 (appendix) of the Alberta Influenza Immunization Policy.
Keep in mind that the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians still apply when providing a pharmacy service outside of a pharmacy. In particular, note Principle 4.6 of the Code of Ethics regarding patient privacy, and Standards 16 through 18 regarding ensuring proper procedures and environment (Standard 16), ensuring patient safety (Standard 17), and creating and maintaining patient records (Standard 18).
Influenza and other publicly funded immunizations are automatically uploaded to Netcare Imm/ARI when a claim is submitted to the Alberta Blue Cross system, and there is no need to report them using with the Immunization Direct Submission Mechanism (IDSM).
Health practitioners should offer the client a copy of their record of immunization.
Vaccine storage and handling
The requirements for the storage, handling and transportation of all vaccines are outlined in the Immunization Regulation. Additionally the Alberta Vaccine Storage and Handling Policy for Provincially Funded Vaccine is to be followed. All known exposures of influenza vaccine to temperatures outside +2.0°C to +8.0°C or light requirements as specified in the product monograph must be reported.
- Health practitioners who receive influenza vaccine through AHS: send the Alberta Health Services Cold Chain Excursion Report Form to the AHS Zone Contact. For additional information on reporting cold chain excursions, refer to AHS Vaccine Storage and Handling.
- Community pharmacies and physician clinics (who will received vaccine from Accuristix): Report cold chain excursions to the influenza vaccine manufacturer within five days for viability determination. A copy of the documentation must be kept with the vaccine and this record must be retained for at least seven years.
Reporting adverse events following immunization
Monitoring the health and safety of Albertans who receive vaccines is paramount. Immunizers must have protocols in place for the management and reporting of anaphylaxis and other serious adverse events. The health practitioner shall ensure that the adverse event following immunization is reported to AHS within three days of being informed. When the adverse event is severe (e.g., anaphylaxis), the event should be reported within 24 hours.
Please visit the AHS website for further information on the reporting process and to access the AEFI report form. Details on AEFI reporting, including case definitions and reporting requirements are included in the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) Policy for Alberta Immunization Providers.
For further information, please refer to Standard 5.3 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians regarding reporting requirements for adverse reactions, and Standard 6.4 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies regarding reporting requirements for adverse reactions.
Also, as outlined in Standard 16, a pharmacist who administers a drug, blood product, or vaccine must have policies and procedures for handling emergencies.
The Incident Analysis Process Summary and Quick Reference Guide is a great resource.
What if I’m not participating in the program?
Even if you don't administer vaccine, you can still play a key role in immunizations as educators and facilitators. We urge you to provide your patients with accurate information regarding influenza immunizations, including referral to an AHS Public Health immunization clinic, particularly for those patients in high risk groups. You can find more information on the AHS website.
Questions regarding the Influenza Immunization Program or Policy?
Email Alberta Health at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- AHS vaccine storage and handling information
- Alberta Health influenza information page
- List of AHS zone contacts for 2022-23 Influenza Immunization Program
- CPHA influenza season information and resources
- NACI Recommendations on the Duration of the Post-vaccination Observation Period for Influenza Vaccination during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Infection control for Regulated Professionals: Pharmacists' edition via Ontario College of Pharmacists
- Common questions from patients about influenza immunization via MyHealth Alberta