Ensuring that all Australians have access to the Covid-19 vaccine is critical in the fight against the virus; however, many regional and remote communities don’t have access to health services via hospital or local GP clinics.
This limited access to health services in some parts of the countries makes community pharmacies particularly critical to ensuring regional and remote communities in Queensland have access to the vaccines.
In response, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Queensland Branch, have joined together to underline the critical role community pharmacies will have as the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination program enters into its subsequent phases and is extended to all people above the age of 50.
“Australia is one of the most decentralised nations in the world, and Queensland is even more so,” says Acting President of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, Chris Owen, underscoring the need for community pharmacies to be involved in the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
“This is why the Federal and State Governments should be commended for ensuring as primary healthcare providers, community pharmacies are part of the vaccination rollout from phase 2A.
“Not all Australians living in regional and remote areas may have access to a GP to get access to vaccinations, which is why it is so critical that all primary healthcare professionals are involved, and access to the Covid-19 vaccine is as broad as possible.”
Speaking specifically about Queensland, PSA’s Queensland Branch President, Shane MacDonald adds that the need for pharmacist involvement in the vaccination strategy is imperative to leading the state out of the pandemic.
“While some Queensland pharmacists in hospitals, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and general practice are already administering Covid-19 vaccines, the majority of pharmacists are currently on the sidelines ready and eager to help,” says Mr MacDonald.
“As the supply of the vaccine increases, patients need community pharmacists on board so that a lack of available providers does not become the next barrier in slowing the vaccine’s uptake.”
‘Safely and intimately involved in vaccination program rollout’
Mr Owen points out the years of experience community pharmacies have in the “safe and intimate rollout of vaccination programs”.
“The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is the most critical health initiative in our generation.
“Anyone administering a Covid-19 vaccine in community pharmacies will undergo training with the Australian College of Nurses on this specific vaccine.
“As frontline primary healthcare professionals with an extensive network across the length and breadth of Queensland, we stand ready to do our part,” says Mr Owen.