Friday Five (April 16, 2021)

This week's edition of the Friday Five includes updates on COVID-19 Vaccination, Safety IQ, SOP, and a pharmacy technician reminder.

CPhM Companion Document to the CPSM Standards of Practice for Prescribing Opioids and Benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs 

On April 15, 2021, CPhM Council approved a Companion Document to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) Standards of Practice for Prescribing Opioids and Benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs. The Companion document can be accessed here

 All members and pharmacy staff are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the Companion Document and CPSM standards in dispensing opioids, benzodiazepines, and z-drugs.  

The CPSM Standards came into effect on September 30, 2018, and November 1, 2020. However, the College continues to receive feedback that members are not aware of them. This Companion Document is intended to raise pharmacy staff awareness and understanding of the CPSM Standards. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Updates

Pharmacy Interns Included Under the Ministerial Order to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines in Pharmacies 

After several discussions with the Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force (VITF), it was confirmed that pharmacy interns are now authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines in pharmacies under the revised Ministerial Order under The Regulated Health Professions Act (vaccine administration).

Before a pharmacy intern can administer COVID-19 vaccines in a pharmacy, they MUST:

  1. Fill out an Application for Intern Certification of Authorization to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines by Injection;
  2. Scan and send it to the College by email at; AND, 
  3. Receive certification from the College.

Note that this certification of authorization is only required if an intern wishes to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts at the pharmacy. Interns can continue to provide all other vaccines and drugs by injections during an internship, provided they possess the required training approved by Council and are performing the act under the supervision of a certified pharmacist.  


Administration of COVID-19 Vaccines with Other Vaccines 

At this time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be given simultaneously with other vaccines (live or inactivated).  

 Currently, NACI recommends that it would be prudent to:  

  • wait for a period of at least 28 days after each vaccine dose of an mRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine before the administration of another vaccine (with some exceptions), and   
  • wait for a period of at least 14 days after the administration of another vaccine before administering a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Vaccination sites will defer clients’ appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine if they received other vaccinations within that time frame. Please see NACI Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine(s) to review the full recommendation. 

Safety IQ – Role of the College 

Safety IQ, the continuous quality improvement program for community pharmacies, will become mandatory June 1, 2021. Safety IQ is a non-punitive program intended to foster a culture of safety and open communication about medication incidents and near-miss events to encourage shared learning and improve the safety of pharmacy practice in Manitoba. 

Individual pharmacy incident and near-miss reports submitted to the National Incident Data Repository for Community Pharmacy (NIDR) are anonymous. The College will only have access to de-identified aggregated data summaries, including the total number of incidents and near-miss events, type and degree of harm, medications involved, etc. The College will review provincial incident data summaries for trends to improve standards and guidelines and develop resources and education to help pharmacy professionals reduce risk and improve patient safety. 

During College pharmacy visits and inspections, field officers will provide support and education to help pharmacy staff fully implement the Safety IQ program. College field operations officers will assess how pharmacy staff engage with Safety IQ: 

  • Are all staff trained on Safety IQ and the pharmacy’s reporting tools? 
  • Is the pharmacy reporting medication incidents and near-miss events?  
  • Does pharmacy staff openly discuss incidents to identify contributing factors and develop changes in processes to reduce recurrence? How do they have discussions – informal huddles, staff meetings? 
  • Are process changes documented and reviewed to determine if they are effective?  

Beyond June 1, 2021, the College will continuously assess Safety IQ to ensure that pharmacy professionals have the tools and resources to foster safety culture and reduce patient risk. Together, we can make a safe system even safer.  

Safety IQ resources are available at the following link: 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ronda Eros by email at 

Advice on Social Media and the Provincial Vaccine Campaign  

It was brought to the attention of the College that some social media posts by pharmacists about the provincial COVID-19 vaccination campaign may be unintentionally misleading patients and the public about availability and eligibility requirements. 

As trusted healthcare professionals, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have an ethical responsibility to ensure any social media posts about health care or pharmacy practice serve the well-being of patients and the public. Social media posts that share inaccurate or outdated information about COVID-19 or the provincial vaccine campaign can spread misinformation and cause frustration for already stressed or fatigued Manitobans. If you decide to post about COVID-19 or the vaccine campaign, please consider the following tips: 

  • Provide only timely information on eligibility or access with links to the most up-to-date provincial information such as or Avoid posting eligibility or supply information directly in your posts as it can quickly become outdated. 
  • Promote vaccine awareness and competence by using sample posts or resources from credible sources such as the Government of Canada or CANVAX
  • Review links and information that you are re-posting from other sources to ensure those sources of information are accurate and credible. 

This matter also serves as a reminder to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians of the “Pause Before You Post: Social Media Awareness” module, which outlines your ethical responsibilities and expectations as a professional when using social media. All pharmacy technicians must complete the module before May 31, 2021, and all pharmacists are required to complete it by October 31, 2021 to be eligible for the 2022 listing/licence renewal. 

Pharmacy Technician Listing Renewal Notice 

 Pharmacy Technicians listed with the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (College) must renew their listing annually. The online renewal portal opened March 15, 2021. The deadline for renewal is June 1, 2021. Pharmacy technicians who do not renew by June 1, 2021 will be removed from the List of Pharmacy Technicians. 

Pharmacy Technicians should refer to the email sent to them by the College for further information on how to renew. If you require assistance with the Pharmacy Technician renewal process, please email


Volunteer Opportunity for IEHP Advisory Committee 

The Rady Faculty of Health Sciences from the University of Manitoba has created a hub to address the barriers to integration and employment of internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) in Manitoba. This hub aims to streamline and harmonize current access to educational resources and employment support for highly skilled newcomers and create new pathways and new points of access. The hub’s target professions are; audiology, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, and speech-language pathology. 

The IEHP team is looking for up to five volunteers to be a part of the advisory committee to help influence the program’s direction. Please see the following for more information on this opportunity: 



Upcoming Events/Professional Development Opportunities: 


CPhM AGM and Awards Presentations 

Saturday, May 8, 2021
9:00 a.m. 

To register, click here


Opioid Agonist Therapy 101 Introduction to Clinical Practice  

April 29-30, 2021
8:30 am – 4:30 pm  

 To purchase event tickets, click here


4th annual Communities and Collaboration Symposium 

May 5, 2021
2:00 PM – 1:00 PM   

For more information, click here


CAPT National Professional Development Virtual Conference 2021  

May 29 & 30, 2021  

To register, click here.