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The role of pharmacists in diabetes is now more important than ever.
 

Watch researchers Lori MacCallum and Lisa Dolovich, as well as community pharmacists Poshin Jobanputra, Maggie Cheung, and Yujeong Kim, discuss strategies they found that successfully improved follow-up for people with diabetes, such as the importance of raising patient awareness, access to labs, staff buy-in, and physician support.

 

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Working to bring Canadians a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases, whether it's seasonal flu or childhood infections. A safe and effective vaccine(s) for COVID-19 will protect us against the novel coronavirus and will be an important step to safely resume normal life in Canada and around the world. The Government of Canada is working on all possible fronts to secure access to safe and effective vaccines and related supplies for Canadians. Here is what Canadians need to know about a future COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Only vaccines that are safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada.

Canada is recognized around the world for its high standards for drug and vaccine review, approvals and monitoring systems; these will not be compromised. The Government of Canada has gained real-time access to manufacturer clinical trial data for the most promising vaccine candidates, and is working with the global regulatory community to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective before regularity approval is granted.

 

A vaccine will be available to everyone.

Because of the unprecedented global funding and collaboration, more than 150 vaccine candidates are being researched around the world at this time. The Government of Canada is investing in made-in-Canada research and has already made advanced purchase agreements of many hundreds of millions of doses of the most promising vaccine candidates from around the world. This will give Canadians access to safe and effective vaccines as soon as they are ready. Not all vaccines will make it past the finish line, so that's why we are purchasing in advance a number of the most promising vaccine candidates. Health Canada is focusing on reviewing and approving COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible, while ensuring that they are well-studied and safe.

 

Because there will be limited quantities at first, once a vaccine is approved for use, key populations will need to be prioritized.

We expect to have a limited supply of just a few million doses in the early weeks and months once Health Canada approves a vaccine(s) for use in Canada. That means governments will work together and continue to seek input from independent experts, like the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), to make decisions about how to prioritize vaccination. This will allow us to make the most impact by protecting high-risk populations and those who help keep our pandemic response, society and economy running. When there are enough vaccine(s) available, the vaccination program will be expanded.

 

Building up immunity takes time.

One dose of vaccine may not be enough to provide individual protection. You may need to get a second shot to allow your body to develop adequate immunity. We don't yet know what level of immunity in the population is sufficient to achieve community immunity. Until that time, Canadians should continue to wash their hands, stay home when sick, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep using good cough and surface hygiene.

 

COVID-19 vaccines will be free.

As more vaccines are made and distributed, we expect to be able to offer free vaccination to every Canadian who wants one. We know that we live in a global community, so we have committed to making sure low and middle-income economies around the world will also have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine(s). Until we're all protected, we're still at risk of a resurgence of illness from COVID-19.

 

Vaccination is a choice you should make to protect yourself, your family and community.

Vaccination is a personal choice that the vast majority of Canadians agree is part of good health and important for prevention of serious disease.

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Early in the COVID-19 pandemic when access to supplies was limited, we saw the importance of being prepared. From toilet paper to hand sanitizer and canned goods, supplies quickly became scarce because people panicked and suddenly decided to hoard items they viewed as essential.

 

We never know what challenges could arise. We live in a country where the hazards are as diverse as the geography. So how can you prepare for an emergency? It’s simple: Know the risks, make a plan, and prepare an emergency kit adapted to your needs.

 

Understanding The Risk In Your Community

If you live in a Maritime flood zone, your needs will be different from those of a British Columbia community at risk of forest fires. A good example is the ice storm of 1998, which left many Quebec residents without power for three months and showed the importance of being prepared for an emergency.

 

To know the risks specific to your province, consult the website getprepared.gc.ca. Also check with your municipality to find out the emergency plans specific to your region.

 

Don’t forget to consider your skills and physical abilities, whether you live alone or are caring for a family, any special health or mobility issues in your household, and whether you live in a house, high-rise or basement apartment. All of these factors will affect your emergency plan and kit.

 

List Of Must -Have Items

When putting together your kit, think about what you would need to cope for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. This is when first responders and emergency personnel are dedicating their efforts to those in urgent need.

Here are some essential items that you should include in your kit:

  • Water: two litres of water per person per day (get both big and small bottles)
  • Canned goods, dried food, energy bars and other food that won't spoil (replace at least once a year, or sooner if expiring)
  • A manual can opener for all those cans!
  • A wind-up or battery-powered flashlight and radio (and extra batteries)
  • A first-aid kit A spare set of keys for your car and house Important family documents such as identification, insurance, and bank records
  • Cash in smaller bills and change
  • Your emergency plan and contact information for relevant emergency services

You can add additional items such as candles, matches or a lighter, warm blankets, personal hygiene items, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garbage bags, medical equipment, dishes and utensils, a pocket knife, a camping stove and fuel, an emergency whistle, and strong tape. It’s also a good idea to have a generator and a landline phone that doesn’t require electrical power to work.

 

Speical Items For Special Needs

Emergencies can be challenging for anyone, but even more so for people with disabilities or special needs, as well as for their caregivers. When you need a helping hand, it’s important to establish a support network of people who would know how to assist you in an emergency. Be sure to discuss your emergency plan with your network. Depending on your situation, some extra items may need to be added to the emergency kit, such as:

  • A MedicAlert® bracelet or identification A minimum of a week's supply of prescription medications
  • Non-perishable foods appropriate to your dietary restrictions
  • A detailed list of all food or drug allergies, current medications and the condition being treated, including special needs items that may need to be replaced
  • List of health-care professionals and emergency contacts
  • Extra assistive devices such as canes, walkers, hearing aids, breathing apparatus, blood glucose monitoring devices, etc.
  • A pencil and paper for written communication (for people with a speech or hearing impairment) If you have a service animal, include items for the animal as well: food, water, bandages, ID tags, and a recent photo
  • If you use a wheelchair or scooter, include a tire patch kit, a can of seal-in-air product (to repair flat tires), a supply of inner tubes, and a pair of heavy gloves to protect your hands.
  • If you’re visually impaired, a smoke detection system that flashes strobe lights or vibrators in case of an alarm, and a longer white cane to manoeuvre around obstacles and debris
  • You can also obtain emergency alert devices such as a personal alarm that emits a loud noise to draw attention, a panic button to notify others of your location, or a pager that is connected to an emergency monitoring system.
Your Pharmacist Can Help

It doesn’t take that much effort to be well prepared, and yet it can save you much stress and even save your life. Take a bit of time to prepare an emergency plan and kit that are adapted to your specific needs. Update them at least once a year. Keep a list of all items with an expiry date, and plan on replacing them at least a month before they expire. This way, you’ll be able to use the items and reduce wastage.

 

If you need any help or have questions on what medication and first aid items to include, your pharmacist would be happy to help!

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