The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is calling on all state and territory governments to ensure that legislative amendments are made now so that approved COVID-19 vaccines can be administered by pharmacists.
The Federal Government today announced COVID-19 vaccines would be made available to Australians next year free of charge if trials are successful and they are proven to be safe and effective, meeting all necessary regulatory requirements.
The Queensland Government has already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine with New South Wales and Victoria also amending legislation, however the patient will need to access a script from a GP in those two states.
PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said administering a COVID-19 vaccine will be the primary way out of this pandemic and we will need all hands on deck to ensure that there is wide and comprehensive update of the vaccine.
“Some state and territory governments have already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine if and when it becomes available and pharmacists are more than capable and qualified to provide this service, he said.
“A proactive approach to legislative amendments now means that when the vaccine is available all jurisdictions around Australia will be ready to go, with the entire available health care workforce including pharmacists able to undertake a large-scale vaccination program.
“PSA has written to state and territory governments asking that any required legislative amendments are made now in preparation for when the vaccine becomes available.
“We strongly recommend that the existing community pharmacy wholesale supply chain arrangements to facilitate delivery of the vaccine stock into community pharmacies.”
This year in response to the pandemic threat, there have been almost one million doses of flu vaccines administered to Australians through the existing pharmacist network, all while continuing to serve local communities and maintaining frontline PBS medication supply.
As part of the recently signed seventh community pharmacy agreement the Federal Government committed to supporting for harmonization of pharmacist vaccines across all Australian jurisdictions.
A/Prof Freeman said recently we have seen pharmacists with improved vaccination scope provided to the community and the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine should be viewed no differently.
“The large scale rollout of this vaccine can only be achieved by also utilising pharmacist immunisers conveniently located in the community across Australia,” he said.
“This will be particularly critical in rural and remote areas where there may be a limited number of GPs.”