Ready or not: Pharmacist perceptions of a changing scope of practice before it happens


Since some vaccine-preventable diseases are more common with age, it is important that older adults stay up to date on their immunizations. Under the new scope of practice, pharmacists will be able to administer more of these recommended vaccines. In April 2016, the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) proposed an expanded vaccine scope of practice under the provincial Pharmacy Act. Among others, two vaccines included in the expanded scope are the shingles vaccine, targeted toward adults aged 60 and older and the pneumococcal vaccine intended for adults aged 65 and older. Through their web site, the OCP held a public consultation and invited pharmacists, members of the public, and organizations to weigh in on these proposed changes.


Our objective was to explore the various factors influencing how Ontario pharmacists may adopt or reject the expanding scope of practice using data from the OCP public consultation. We hope that our findings will facilitate a smooth roll out of pharmacist-administered vaccinations. When this happens, older adults — especially those living in rural areas or those without a doctor or nurse practitioner — will be able to receive their vaccinations more easily.

Summary of findings

We downloaded the responses from the public consultation directly from the OCP web site, coded and analysed the information. From our analysis, we determined that the OCP consultation suggests that most pharmacists are focused on the relative advantages of their expanding scope of practice. In the case of new vaccines, the advantages over the status quo include better accessibility for patients, stronger professional image, decreased physician workload, and more efficient health care. Yet many pharmacists are concerned about relationships with employers and the effect that a heavier workload will have on patient safety. They also highlight that the advantages offered by the new regulations are incomplete in that they lack prescriptive authority.

Project members: 
Undergraduate Fellow
Faculty Supervisor
Project start date:
December, 2016
Last updated: January 26, 2017