The week in review


Deputy Director of Pharmacy Erica Tong prepares syringes of the first COVID-19 vaccine
Deputy Director of Pharmacy Erica Tong prepares syringes of the first COVID-19 vaccine. Image courtesy Alfred Health.

Pharmacists were at the centre of this week’s biggest news: the first COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia

There was exciting news in the COVID-19 crisis this week, with the beginning of the Australian vaccination program rollout. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among the first to be vaccinated, as was pharmacist Uyen Hua, who is working in the hotel vaccination program. There was praise for Dr Erica Tong at Alfred Health, and all the hospital pharmacists involved, with SHPA‘s Kristin Michaels saying that, “For hospital pharmacists to be at the centre of something that’s now so essential for all Australians – we’re really thrilled.”

But the start to the rollout wasn’t entirely smooth, with one GP being stood down after he gave a higher than advised dose of the vaccine to two elderly patients. Meanwhile, the TGA issued advice on advertising such a service; and the Pharmacy Guild welcomed regulatory approval for Victorian pharmacists to administer the jab.

Politicians including pharmacist Emma McBride debated the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2020, which the Government described as “about boosting wages and enhancing productivity” and PPA described as “exceptionally unfair”. The Pharmacy Guild’s Trent Twomey and the Queensland branch called on the Morrison Government to permanently implement continued dispensing.

The TGA expanded its recall of artemisia-containing products, which it says are not safe at any stage during a pregnancy

University of Washington researchers looked at the rates of ongoing symptoms well after infection with COVID-19; and there was new data on the number of older people using complementary medicines. University of Queensland Associate Professor Chris Freeman released data from his study on pharmacists working in the general practice setting, showing positive results.

PSS and the PSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding. TerryWhite Chemmart praised pharmacy partners who helped raise money for Ovarian Cancer Australia. There was yet more speculation on Chemist Warehouse‘s potential float, with pundits this week suggesting it’s a step closer.

The Australasian College of Pharmacy announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Dimitri Kopanakis. And Duncan McKenzie, Pharmacy Manager at Royal Hobart Hospital, was named 2021 Tasmanian Pharmacist of the Year at the Tasmanian Pharmacy Conference. Congratulations to both… and to everyone involved with the vaccine rollout.

 

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