COVID vax booster program likely


Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks at the APP2021 opening plenary
Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks at the APP2021 opening plenary

The Health Minister has apologised to pharmacists for the abuse they copped thanks to COVID – but warned of a decade of dealing with the disease

Pharmacy Guild newsletter Forefront has reported on a special guest appearance made by Greg Hunt on the Guild’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout webinar.

The Minister praised community pharmacies for staying open during the pandemic.

“You provided health services. All of you stayed open,” he said. “I know there were periods last year when there was inappropriate behaviour towards pharmacists and pharmacy workers, and I apologise for that, but I thank you for what you’ve done.

“You’ve saved lives. You’ve been on the frontline. You’ve done a great job.”

He also told attendees that it would be long time, however, before life went back to normal.

“We will be dealing with this issue for the coming decade,” Minister Hunt said.

He also told the webinar that an ongoing COVID-19 vaccine booster program – which would involve pharmacies as well as other aspects of the primary health care network – would be likely, though nothing was yet formalised.

Meanwhile the Guild teamed up with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to urge all Australians to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

While the RACGP did not resile from earlier advice not to mix jabs – Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath had suggested people have their first vaccine at a GP and their second at a pharmacy, a suggestion not supported by the GP group – it now says the most important thing is to choose a provider and be vaccinated.

“We need to get as many vaccinations done as soon as possible to combat this virus,” said RACGP President Dr Karen Price.

“If people opt to receive their vaccine from their GP or at a pharmacy, that is their choice. We need to ramp up our vaccination numbers so that must be the number one aim.

“However, it is vital that all people receive both vaccine doses from the same vaccinator. Continuity of care and patient safety must always be paramount, so receiving your jab from the same GP or pharmacy is the best option.

“We know that some communities are facing issues in terms of vaccine stock being available, but mixing and matching vaccinators will not resolve this problem. So please, get your first and second doses from the same vaccinator and play your part in keeping the community safe from harm.”

Pharmacy Guild National President Adjunct Professor Trent Twomey said that the most important thing was for people to get vaccinated.

“The reality is that vaccination is the way out of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“And there is no wrong way to get vaccinated.

“There is no wrong door to enter to get your vaccination. 

“There is no wrong vaccine to get.

“And increasingly the evidence is highlighting that there is no need for anyone to delay getting their vaccination while awaiting another brand as all are extremely effective

“My message and that of all pharmacists and their fellow vaccinators is: ‘Just get vaccinated. If you’re over 18, get the vaccine’.”

The call comes as NSW Health added the Dubbo Local Government Area to its list of lockdown areas, after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed there overnight.

On Tuesday more pharmacies were added to the list of exposure sites for NSW.

  • People who attended the Bangalow Pharmacy on Thursday, 5 August from 11am to 11.30am, and/or Friday, 6 August from 11am to 11.30am, are considered to be close contacts.
  • People who attended the Elias Pharmacy Fairfield on Tuesday, 3 August from 10am to 10.30am are considered casual contacts.
  • People who attended the Nands Pharmacy Liverpool on Saturday, 31 July from 12.35pm to 12.45pm are casual contacts.
  • People who attended Pharmacy Junction at Westfield Parramatta on Thursday, 29 July from 3.05pm to 3.20pm are casual contacts.
  • People who attended the Chemist Warehouse St Marys on Saturday 7 August at 4.30pm to 4.45pm are casual contacts.
  • People who attended the Guardian Chemist Warners Bay on Friday, 6 August at 3pm to 4pm are casual contacts.

Meanwhile Victoria added the Brimbank Shopping Centre at Deer Park, which contains two pharmacies, to its watch list, as a Tier 3 (monitor for symptoms) site. A case attended the venue on 7 August from 11am to 12pm.

Also added was the Caroline Springs Square Shopping Centre as a Tier 2 site – Tier 1 for staff – all day on August 2, 3, 4, and 5.

People who attended the TerryWhite Chemmart at Woodlea Town Centre on 7 August between 11.20am to 12pm are advised that it is a Tier 2 site.

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