Vax rollout is not a turf war

With industry bodies urgently calling on all governments this week, to activate pharmacists across the nation to administer Covid-19 vaccines in the wake of Australia’s most recent lockdowns, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is adding to the appeal saying that “allowing community pharmacists to vaccinate across Australia will massively increase ease and accessibility” to the vaccine.

“Pharmacists are our most accessible healthcare workforce, and many pharmacists are already trained immunisers,” says PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman.

“Pharmacists are already administering Covid-19 vaccines in some community pharmacies in remote and rural areas, in vaccination hubs, and in GP clinics around the country.

“But we have thousands of other community pharmacists who are ready and raring to go to help protect their communities.

“Ensuring as many Australians as possible can access vaccinations is critical if we are to keep ahead of this deadly disease.

“Allowing community pharmacists to vaccinate across Australia will massively increase ease and accessibility.

“Many regional and remote communities do not have access to health services via hospitals or local GP clinics.

“Given this, community pharmacists are ideally placed to support the rollout, with 97% of the population in capital cities living within 2.5km of their local community pharmacy, and 65% in regional areas.

“However, even in capital cities, we know that many are struggling to get appointments at vaccination hubs, with some queuing for hours.

“At a time when Australians are being encouraged to restrict their movements and avoid crowds, these long queues are very concerning,” he says.

Associate Professor Freeman adds that “with pharmacists now also covered by the Government’s indemnity scheme, the solution is right under the Government’s nose”.

“This is not about funding, politics, or protecting turf,” he urges.

“This is a pandemic, and PSA’s interests lie in enabling pharmacists to support their patients and public health during this time.

“Governments need a patient-centric approach to put the community first.

“Pharmacists need to be activated now, so that as more supply becomes available, they are already on board and can be fully utilised to vaccinate in pharmacies alongside vaccinations occurring as part of the General Practice network and vaccination hubs.”

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