‘We’re way down the track.’


Chemist Warehouse open sign

Another Chemist Warehouse is on Victoria’s watch list, as the group director takes to the airwaves to express frustration that community pharmacy can’t give the COVID jab

Chemist Warehouse director Mario Tascone has told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that he doesn’t expect that the discount giant will be able to vaccinate against the novel coronavirus until at least November.

Mr Tascone cited comments made by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at last week’s Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP2021) conference on the Gold Coast, in which the Minister said community pharmacy’s role would be delayed.

“So we’re way down the track,” Mr Tascone said. “Everyone is ready and waiting… We’ve got about 230 stores across the country that are currently doing influenza vaccines, they’re doing them today, a lot of them.

“We could turn to COVID vaccine tomorrow. They’re already set up.”

He said later that, “if I can speak to the rest of pharmacy, I think there’s about 3,000 pharmacies across Australia that are ready to go.”

He encouraged Mr Mitchell to look at “some of the logistic partners that the Government chose to do this rollout” as potential culprits.

“I think the biggest issue is the stock and the delivery and the whole logistics around this. The stock’s just not getting out to where it should be.”

Mr Tascone’s comments echoed earlier frustrations expressed by Pharmacy Guild Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone, who told the AJP this week that, “It’s a travesty that community pharmacies stand ready on the sidelines watching the game unfold before them and have been held back from taking the field by the Victorian government to help the team get the job done”.

Another Chemist Warehouse has been listed on Victoria’s COVID watch page.

People who attended the Chemist Warehouse on Greenvale Drive, Greenvale from 12.50pm to 1.30pm on 25 May are advised to be tested urgently and isolate until they get a negative result, as the pharmacy has been listed as a Tier 2 site.

The Priceline Pharmacy at Barkly Square from 1.15pm to 2.30pm on 22 May, the Chemist Warehouse at Dalton Village, Epping on 19 May, from 6.45pm to 8pm; and the Chemist Depot Epping, at Pacific Epping Shopping Centre, from 11.15am to midday on May 23, are also Tier 2 sites.

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