8.10 Payment for Publicly Funded Vaccinations

General Policy Description

Pharmacies and pharmacists can elect to participate in providing vaccinations as part of ImmunizeBC, the strategic framework for immunization in B.C.

Pharmacies receive payment for each publicly funded vaccination administered to an eligible B.C. resident by a pharmacist who has completed training and is authorized by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (CPBC) to administer vaccines.

As part of the province’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, pharmacies also receive payment for COVID-19 vaccinations administered at the pharmacy by non-pharmacist practitioners who have been authorized to provide immunizations by their respective regulatory colleges.

The vaccine cost is covered by the Province of B.C. through ImmunizeBC; the vaccine administration fee is paid by PharmaCare.

Vaccination records

As required by section 27(3) of the Pharmaceutical Services Act, pharmacists are responsible for entering all relevant information about vaccine administration in PharmaNet. This includes information that identifies the pharmacist who administered the vaccination, for the purposes of professional practice review and liability.

Records of COVID-19 vaccinations since April 1, 2022

For COVID-19 vaccinations, as of April 1, 2022, information must only be entered in the Imms BC application, not through the usual pharmacy software. COVID-19 vaccination records with a service date on or after April 1, 2022 will not be visible in the patient’s PharmaNet dispense history. Pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals can view the patient’s full clinical record of COVID-19 vaccinations in ImmsBC or CareConnect.

As information entered in ImmsBC about COVID-19 vaccinations is then automatically entered in PharmaNet, entry of information in ImmsBC regarding vaccinations administered in community pharmacies must comply with the same standards as any other entry in PharmaNet. The information in PharmaNet is used to pay pharmacies the vaccination administration fee, but is not accessible for clinical purposes.

When a vaccination is entered in ImmsBC, a drug use evaluation (DUE) will not automatically occur. While the risk of adverse side effects is low, pharmacists are reminded to check a patient’s allergies and drug history before administering a COVID-19 vaccination, and to record any reaction in ImmsBC.

Information about publicly funded vaccinations must be entered in the appropriate system (ImmsBC for COVID-19 vaccinations, PharmaNet for all other publicly funded vaccinations) on the day the vaccination is administered.

Records of COVID-19 vaccinations administered between December 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022

For records of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in community pharmacies between December 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, when a vaccination record exists in both ImmsBC and in the PharmaNet dispense history, the record in ImmsBC is the source of authority for the purposes of professional practice review, liability and clinical record.

Non-pharmacists were required to enter the note “IMMSBC” in the Directions for Use field (aka the SIG field) of the PharmaNet record to indicate that the ImmsBC application has the complete record of the vaccination and to identify the non-pharmacist health professional who administered the vaccination.

Policy Details

Payments to pharmacists

PharmaCare pays a $12.10 fee for administration of each dose of a publicly funded vaccine ($18.00 for COVID-19 vaccines) when the vaccination is:

  • Given to an eligible B.C. resident (including those covered by PharmaCare Plan B (Residential Care) (except for COVID-19 vaccines, which can be given to anyone in B.C.), and
  • Administered by injection (or intranasally in the case of the intranasal spray flu vaccine), and
  • Administered by an authorized pharmacist, or, for COVID-19 vaccines only, administered at a community pharmacy by another authorized practitioner (e.g., pharmacy student, nurse)

The fee covers costs relating to patient assessment, administration supplies, administering the vaccine, monitoring the patient for adverse events after immunization, and recordkeeping.

Except for COVID-19 vaccinations, no fee is paid for vaccinations provided by other healthcare professionals, such as nurses hired for pharmacy clinics.

Patient eligibility for publicly funded vaccines

B.C. residents who meet the eligibility criteria set by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) receive publicly funded vaccines at no cost. 

>> For information on eligibility criteria, indications, contraindications and dosage for publicly funded vaccines, see Part 4—Biological Products of the BCCDC Immunization Manual. This information is also available in patient-friendly language on Immunize BC’s Vaccines by Disease page.

PharmaCare does not pay a fee to pharmacists for administering a publicly funded vaccine to patients who are not B.C. residents. 

Pharmacists cannot charge a fee for administering a vaccine to Canadians who meet the eligibility criteria established by the BCCDC.

Please refer all patients who meet the BCCDC eligibility criteria—but who are not B.C. residents—to a local health unit. The health unit will determine if they are eligible for vaccination at no cost.

>> Find local health clinics with Immunize BC’s Health Unit Finder.

Patients who do not meet BCCDC’s eligibility criteria cannot receive vaccinations from the public supply. 

Pharmacists who wish to provide vaccination services to ineligible patients must obtain the vaccine from a private supplier and can charge the patient directly for the product and for administration supplies and services.

 

Procedures for Pharmacists

Always enter the publicly funded vaccination in PharmaNet on the day it is administered. For COVID-19 vaccinations, the information must be entered in ImmsBC on the day the vaccine is administered.

Payment of the vaccine administration fee is based on the use of the PIN and not the quantity entered.

A summary report citing the relevant PINs for publicly funded vaccines is generated after the close of each month’s pay period. After a delay of one month, the related fees are included in the pharmacy payment.

  • Confirm that the patient is eligible to receive a publicly funded vaccination.
  • Obtain informed consent (PDF, 329KB).
  • Provide the patient with a record of immunization with details of the vaccination.

As from April 1, 2022, COVID-19 vaccination claims are no longer entered in PharmaNet through the usual local pharmacy system, and pharmacies will not be able to reconcile monthly vaccine payments using their local system; they will need to use the report available in ImmsBC. The Pharmacy Remittance Advice Form will continue to be available on request from Health Insurance BC and will include vaccination administration fees paid based on vaccinations entered in ImmsBC.

A record of the vaccine lot number is required in case of a rare event such as a vaccine recall or an adverse event following immunization (AEFI). As of October 2021, the vaccine lot number should be recorded in the Directions for Use field (aka the SIG field) as part of the PharmaNet claim.

This ensures a complete record in the Provincial Immunization Registry (PIR). Please don’t enter personally identifiable information in the SIG field, as the entire contents of the SIG field will be included in the PIR.

Submitting a claim for a publicly funded vaccine administered by a pharmacist (except for COVID-19 vaccines)

  • Use the appropriate Product Identification Numbers (PINs) in the drug ingredient field
  • Enter the quantity as the fluid volume of the vaccine (e.g., 0.5 mL)
  • Use your own College of Pharmacists of BC ID in place of the usual prescriber ID
  • Don't enter a drug cost or fee
  • In the Directions for Use field (aka the SIG field), enter the lot number and vaccination site (either RIGHT or LEFT), separated by an underscore _. If entering a claim for the FluMist nasal spray, enter lot number and BILATERAL, separated by an underscore.
    • Don't enter personally identifiable information in the SIG field, as the entire contents of the SIG field will be included in the Provincial Immunization Repository

Submitting a claim for a publicly funded COVID-19 vaccination

  • For COVID-19 vaccinations administered on or after April 1, 2022, pharmacies should only enter information in ImmsBC.
  • Effective April 1, 2022, do not submit claims for COVID-19 vaccinations (neither under a DIN nor a PIN) to PharmaNet through your usual pharmacy software.
  • The PIR is updated, and vaccine administration fees are automatically paid for COVID-19 vaccines based on the information entered in ImmsBC.
  • As COVID-19 vaccination claims will not be submitted to PharmaNet, a Drug Utilization Evaluation (DUE) will not occur. While the risk of adverse side effects is low, pharmacists are reminded to check a patient’s allergies and drug history prior to administering the vaccine. If a patient has a reaction to the vaccine, please record in ImmsBC.

In addition to entering vaccination information in the ImmsBC application, pharmacies may record the vaccine lot number:

  • On a hard-copy prescription of the vaccination, or
  • In a separate vaccine administration log

Submit the claim for a privately funded vaccine

  • Using the appropriate vaccine DIN

If the vaccine requires a prescription, enter the prescriber’s ID in the Prescriber ID field.

If the vaccine does not require a prescription, enter your CPBC ID in the Prescriber ID field.

Procedures for the ordering and handling of publicly funded vaccines are identified in the resource guides for each vaccine. See Tools & Resources below.

 

Tools and Resources

  • Vaccine Resources for Pharmacists—this section of the PharmaCare website provides all necessary information on vaccinations services and on the specific vaccines that authorized pharmacists can administer.