ACT flu jabs off to a galloping start at Wanniassa

An ACT pharmacy which played a strong role in the push for pharmacist vaccination in the Territory has vaccinated 30 Canberrans in the seven days since its service opened.

Staff at the Capital Chemist Wanniassa have been donning hi-vis vests promoting their new pharmacist vaccination service, and customers have responded enthusiastically, says the pharmacy’s managing partner, Elise Apolloni.

“We hosted the Chief Health Officer at the pharmacy in August, and actually invited him out to our pharmacy to have a look around,’ Apolloni told the AJP.

“We’d recently had a renovation that included two consulting rooms – the whole point of those was to move into services like these, but there was nothing that we could offer in the Territory.

“Once he saw what a professional pharmacy looks like, he was really impressed and could not see why it couldn’t be offered.”

The pharmacy’s opening hours – 7am till 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 9pm weekends – highlighted the fact that pharmacy is a very accessible location for immunisation services, she says.

“That got it started for us, and once those good feelings had begun the PSA and Guild stepped in to negotiate. And we definitely wanted to dive in once we could – we had all our staff trained up to be giving vaccinations earlier this year,” says Apolloni.

“It’s been fantastic. We’ve been doing it a week and we’ve had 30 people come in on an ad hoc basis – we haven’t run a clinic yet, we’re just wearing our vaccination hi-vis vests and asking people if they want their flu shot straight away, and just administering it within the guidelines.

“It’s been very interesting to see how people respond. A lot have thought, ‘how convenient’ and just had it done. Others still like the clinic as they can enter their name down and then get mentally prepared!”

Staff have also been using the 15 minute wait post-vaccination to engage with these patients and survey them on their response to the service.

“And this is early on,” says Apolloni. “At this stage we only have the trivalent vaccine. We’re actually telling people that we have the quadrivalent coming, but there’s still many people who prefer trivalent now because of the convenience.

“It would be brilliant if every pharmacy had a room that was compliant – imagine how many of us in the community would get vaccinated, and how many people would be prevented from being sick if we could push up that vaccination rate every flu season.”

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