ACT pharmacists ready to battle whooping cough

As the ACT fights an “unusually high” incidence of whooping cough, pharmacies have reminded consumers that they’re ready to help

As reported over the weekend, the ACT had the highest incidence of whooping cough of any jurisdiction in the first quarter of 2017, according to national infection data.

According to Department of Health data, Canberra had the highest rates of the vaccine-preventable disease pertussis, or whooping cough, with 124.8 cases per 100,000 people which was double the national prevalence rate of 57.8 cases per 100,000 people.

ACT had 119 of the 3355 whooping cough cases reported nationally in the first three months of 2017.

In June 2017 the ACT Government announced an amendment to the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards to enable appropriately trained pharmacists to administer the diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccines to adults without a prescription.

“Currently 37 Canberra pharmacies have pharmacists trained and ready to administer whooping cough vaccination to adults,” says President of the ACT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild, Amanda Galbraith.

She reminded consumers that ACT pharmacists who administer vaccinations will comply with additional training, administration and record keeping requirements as set out by the Territory’s Chief Health Officer.

“With changes in the regulatory environment, community pharmacies are now well-recognised providers of vaccination services—particularly the influenza vaccine, and now broadening to other forms of vaccination to benefit public health,” Ms Galbraith said.

Earlier this month one health expert also warned that whooping cough could be going unrecognised in the community.

Dr Penny Hutchinson, director of the Darling Downs Public Health Unit, said that Toowoomba locals could be mistaking the disease for “a cough that’s going around”.

She encouraged people with symptoms to be tested for the disease.

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