The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council has decided to establish a working group to consider and recommend options for a nationally consistent approach to pharmacist administered vaccinations.
Currently, in all jurisdictions across Australia, trained community pharmacists can legally administer vaccinations, but the range of vaccinations and the allowable age of patients varies from one jurisdiction to another.
“In some states, for example, patients can have a vaccination against whooping cough at their local pharmacy, but not across the border,” Pharmacy Guild National President George Tambassis said.
“It makes sense that pharmacists nationwide can safely administer the same vaccines to their patients in the interests of herd immunity and a better, more efficient health system.”
PSA President Dr Shane Jackson said: “We applaud the Health Council’s initiative to build on the success of pharmacist vaccinations.
“Research has shown internationally and locally that pharmacists are considered highly accessible and they can boost vaccination rates, contributing to a reduced burden on our already over-burdened healthcare system.”
Dr Jackson says he believes a national approach to pharmacist administered vaccination will reduce confusion, ensure patients have better access to quality vaccination services and utilise the pharmacy workforce appropriately.
“Regulation of pharmacist immunisers varies from state to state,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense that pharmacists can only vaccinate for meningococcal disease in Tasmania and pertussis in some states, such as South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.”
Pharmacists have been providing vaccinations across all states and territories since 2016, leading to increased vaccination rates, including many people being vaccinated for the first time.
Independent research commissioned by PSA has indicated that almost two in three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer a broader range of vaccinations.
PSA says it has consistently called for equitable access for consumers to a wider range of pharmacist administered vaccines across all states and territories as well as consistent regulation of pharmacist immunisers.
The Guild and PSA are looking forward to assisting the working group on this initiative in order to achieve an outcome that enhances access to vaccinations for patients.