National Pharmacy Student Vaccine Education Program – Saskatchewan

About the Speaker

Tiana Tilli

PharmD, RPh, ACPR

Tiana received her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Toronto. While earning her degree, she participated in advocacy efforts while interning at the World Health Organization (WHO), Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, and St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Uganda. Upon graduating, Tiana completed a hospital pharmacy residency at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Tiana has held the position of Director of Pharmacy Innovation & Professional Affairs at Whole Health Pharmacy Partners, a community pharmacy banner, where she led the banner’s adult immunization program. This included developing continuing education resources on immunizations and operational supports for pharmacists as well as in-pharmacy awareness campaigns for patients. Tiana is currently a clinical pharmacist and lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s Pharmacists Clinic. Tiana is passionate about optimizing the role of pharmacists and providing patient-centered care.

Place of Practice:

Community Pharmacy and Private Practice (Travel Medicine) in Vancouver, British Columbia

Video

Q&A

While preparing for an international pharmacy placement, I realized I was overdue for my tetanus vaccine and that I had never been immunized against meningococcal ACWY or B. I had assumed that I received these as part of the public school system. I learned that it’s common for adults to believe they’re up to date on vaccines but remain at-risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. Learning that individuals aren’t vaccinated simply because they don’t realize they’re due for vaccines lead me to develop a passion to ensure adults are up to date on their vaccines at all stages of life (e.g., starting university, when pregnant, prior to travel, and at retirement).

I screen all new patients for adult immunizations. During intake appointments, I collect vaccine history the same way I would collect social history and past medical history. Making it part of my routine practice has enhanced my comfort with making recommendations and ensures patients’ immunization needs don’t fall through the cracks. I also add reminders to patient charts in terms of when they’ll be due for their next vaccine so that it stays on our radar.

I’m originally from Ontario and in that jurisdiction, pharmacists are able to administer vaccines against COVID-19, Influenza (in accordance with Ontario’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program), and 13 other vaccine-preventable diseases (i.e., Haemophilus Influenzae Type B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Herpes Zoster, Human Papillomavirus, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningitis, Pneumococcal Disease, Rabies, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Disease, Varicella Virus and Yellow Fever). Additional vaccines can be administered if a direct order or medical directive, from a healthcare provider who has the act within their scope of practice, is in place. Pharmacists are not able to prescribe vaccines but are able to administer schedule II vaccines without a prescription.

I have many different types of vaccine conversations with patients. I routinely let individuals know what vaccines they’re due for, why these vaccines are important for them specifically, and how vaccines can be obtained. I also talk to patients about questions or concerns they may have about vaccines and often re-visit this over time to see if vaccine readiness changes.

I would recommend having immunization tools readily accessible. From an operational perspective, this may include quick references to publicly funded immunization schedules or pharmaceutical opinion templates to help integrate recommendations into your workflow. From a patient-education perspective, this may include vaccine information handouts and vaccination tracking tools to promote awareness, informed decision-making, and uptake.