Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Pharmacists giving flu shots wastes money: BCNU's McPherson

Allowing pharmacists to inject clients with drugs may be a waste of scarce healthcare dollars, British Columbia Nurses' Union president Debra McPherson said.

“We're not opposed to pharmacists giving immunizations, but I can tell you right now that a skilled community nurse can give 20 to 25 an hour,” McPherson said last week. The government will pay pharmacists $14 per shot they give, she said. “At $14 bucks a pop you're talking $400 bucks just getting a pharmacist to do that where a regularly employed nurse could give twice as many as a pharmacist is ever going to give.”

There are 2,800 pharmacists working in 1,000 pharmacies in the province. The B.C. Pharmacy Association last week announced they can now legally give injections, calling them a “logical, additional resource for injections administration.”

During estimates debate, healthy living and sport minister Ida Chong said 400 pharmacists had so far been trained to give injections.

McPherson criticized the move during a press conference on service cuts at the Vancouver Island Health Authority. “We're looking for cost effective solutions that make the best use of all the care providers in the system,” she said.

Many of the cuts will provide a short term saving, but will prove more expensive later, she said. “If you want long term cost slashing we have to be attending to the social determinants of health.” That includes spending more on things like housing, nutrition, education, mental health and keeping seniors active.

Communities need to get active to fight the service cuts, she said. The BCNU Monday criticized cuts made by the Fraser Health Authority.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus