Victorian adolescents can now access vaccination by pharmacists

Tuesday, 15 October, 2019

Victorian adolescents can now access vaccination by pharmacists

Victorian Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jenny Mikakos has announced that the state government is lowering the minimum vaccination age from 16 years to 10 years for pharmacist vaccination in readiness for the 2020 influenza season.

The news has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), with Victorian Branch President Ben Marchant commending the government’s decision to allow pharmacists to protect more Victorians from influenza.

“Allowing trained pharmacists to administer vaccines to a wider cohort will significantly increase immunisation rates within the community,” Marchant said.

“This is particularly important given a total of 61,545 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza have been processed in Victoria so far in 2019. Research has shown internationally and locally that pharmacists are considered highly accessible.

“87% of Victorians live within 2.5 km of a pharmacy, which are generally open longer hours than other primary health services. This change will enable more people, including families, to access influenza vaccination and build immunity within the Victorian community.”

The organisation encourages the Victorian Government to continue working towards harmonising requirements for pharmacist vaccination with other states in line with last year’s resolution of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council, and also to better align training and regulatory requirements with those of other health professions.

The news comes one month after Tasmanian Minister for Health Sarah Courtney expanded the scope of pharmacist-administered services in the state, moving to bring the Apple Isle in line with other states and territories.

The range of vaccinations available through pharmacist immunisers now included dTpa and state-funded MMR for 16 years and older. This is in addition to offering the influenza vaccine to individuals aged 10 years and over.

“These vaccines targeting measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus are vital in saving lives and protecting the community from the spread of these potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Tasmanian PSA Branch President Dr Ella Van Tienen.

“The availability of these vaccines through pharmacist immunisers benefits consumers due to the accessibility of community pharmacy and the convenience. It also benefits the health system through higher vaccination rates and cost savings.”

PSA continues to advocate for a national approach to pharmacist-administered vaccinations to reduce confusion, ensure better access for patients to quality vaccination services and utilise the pharmacist workforce appropriately.

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