Allowing trained pharmacists to administer flu vaccines was a visionary idea that would boost local vaccination rates and general community health Labor Leader Luke Foley announced on Sunday.
Under the policy healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 in my electorate would be able to obtain a flu vaccine at the local pharmacist for a standard charge.
Participating pharmacists would be required to complete a two-day training course accredited by NSW Health. They would also need appropriate professional indemnity insurance and a private consultation area on their premises.
Labor’s policy will complement the free flu vaccines that already exist under the National Immunisation Program and are provided by GPs to high-risk groups including all people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 and older.
Influenza is a public health risk – and we need to get more people in electorate vaccinated. Trained pharmacists offer a safe, convenient and cost-effective way to achieve that outcome.
Everybody knows their local pharmacist. They are highly skilled and trusted professionals. If in rural/regional/coastal area Particularly in our area where there is a shortage of doctors – pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare system.
This is a sensible new approach from Labor and Luke Foley to improving vaccination rates here in NSW. It is based on research and sound science.
And if you’re looking at the big picture, it’s a much smarter way to reduce doctor visits and control public health expenditure than the Tony Abbott GP tax.
Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia allow varying dispensing rights to pharmacists. Several other countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the United States allow pharmacists to provide vaccinations.
Overseas studies have shown that pharmacy-administered vaccines are especially effective in targeting young and middle-aged men. A Queensland trial found that one-in-four people immunised at pharmacies are walk-ins who had not planned on getting a vaccination.
In December 2013, the Pharmacy Board of Australia affirmed the administration of vaccines to be within the scope of pharmacy practice. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has also developed practice guidelines.
Last year, NSW Health reported 15,700 cases of influenza strain A and 2,500 cases of influenza strain B.
Labor in Government would examine extending pharmacist-delivered vaccines to adult measles and whooping cough.