Ontario Pharmacists Now Able to Give Additional Vaccines Effective Immediately: In participating pharmacies in Ontario, pharmacists can now provide individuals five years of age and older with vaccines—many of which are travel vaccines—that help protect against the following 13 preventable diseases: • Bacille Calmette-Guérin (tuberculosis) • Haemophilus influenzae type B—known as Hib (severe bacterial infection) • Hepatitis A • Hepatitis B • Herpes zoster (shingles) • Human papillomavirus (HPV) • Japanese encephalitis • Meningococcal disease (severe illnesses like infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, as well as bloodstream infections caused by a certain bacteria) • Pneumococcal disease (range of infections from ear and sinus to pneumonia and bloodstream) • Rabies • Typhoid • Varicella (chicken pox) • Yellow fever
How does this affect your employee benefits plan? Some of the vaccines require a prescription from a primary care provider like a family doctor, pediatrician or nurse practitioner. Others, like the flu shot, don’t require a prescription and are free when given by a pharmacist or primary care provider. If the vaccine is part of Ontario’s publicly funded immunization program, it is free when given by a primary care provider. However, if given by a pharmacist, there is a charge and most plans don’t cover the cost of the actual injection. Accordingly, this will be an out-of-pocket expense for Ontario plan members. In addition, even in cases where a pharmacy doesn’t require a prescription to dispense the vaccine, if covered under your plan, most insurers require a prescription for it to be an eligible expense.