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Clarification of Vaccine Scheduling in the National Drug Schedules

When searching the National Drug Schedules (NDS) for specific vaccines, pharmacy professionals may find it hard to locate certain listings. This is because vaccines that have not been reviewed individually by the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) are not specifically mentioned in the NDS. 

Some examples of vaccines not specifically mentioned in the NDS include the herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine, the HPV vaccine, the pneumococcal conjugate 13 valent vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine. However, these products are still subject to the general vaccines listings copied below:

Drug Name Comment Schedule Date
Vaccines (except for - those which are part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories: Diphtheria toxoid, Tetanus toxoid, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenza type B, Measles, Mumps, Pneumococcus, Rubella, Hepatitis B Pediatric, Influenza, cholera vaccine (oral, inactivated) when used for prophylaxis against traveller’s diarrhea & due to enterotoxigenic escherichia coli (ETEC); and those requiring special enhanced public access due to disease outbreaks: Meningococcus) I FEB / 02
Vaccines. which are part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories: Diptheria toxoid, Tetanus toxoid, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenza type B, Measles, Mumps, Pneumococcus, Rubella, Hepatitis B Pediatric, Influenza, cholera vaccine (oral, inactivated) when used for prophylaxis against traveller’s diarrhea & due to enterotoxigenic escherichia coli (ETEC); and those requiring special enhanced public access due to disease outbreaks: Meningococcus II FEB / 02

 

Schedule II vaccines include:

  • Vaccines which are part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories;
  • Vaccines requiring special enhanced public access due to disease outbreaks; 
  • Cholera vaccine (oral, inactivated) when used for prophylaxis against travellers’ diarrhea and due to ETEC

All other vaccines are Schedule I (e.g. Hepatitis A vaccine, yellow fever vaccine).

You can refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) immunization charts (found here and here) to determine if a vaccine is part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories. 

At the time of the posting of this information, the following schedules applied:

  • COVID-19 vaccines would require special enhanced public access due to the current global disease outbreak. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccines are Schedule II.
  • Pneumococcal conjugate 13-valent vaccine is recommended as part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories, according to the PHAC charts. Therefore, pneumococcal conjugate-13 valent vaccine is Schedule II.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended as part of a routine immunization program in most/all provinces and territories, according to the PHAC charts. Therefore, the HPV vaccine is Schedule II.
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles) vaccine is currently part of a routine immunization program only in Ontario, according to the PHAC charts. It would therefore not meet the criteria for Schedule II. Shingles vaccine should be considered a Schedule I drug.

Pharmacy professionals should be aware that the appropriate schedule for these vaccines could change if the routine immunization program charts were updated or if there were a change in disease outbreak status.

Further, since the National Drug Schedules are implemented in a slightly different manner in each of the provinces and territories, there may be exceptions to the scheduling of certain drugs in some provinces and territories. More information is posted on the NAPRA website. It is best to refer to the pharmacy regulatory authority (usually the College of pharmacists) of the province or territory in question for more information on the drug scheduling rules in that jurisdiction. 

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