Another state expands flu jabs to younger kids

sign that says: 'flu jab next exit'

Pharmacy groups have lauded a South Australian decision to allow pharmacist vaccination of children as young as 10

State Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade has announced that South Australia will extend pharmacist vaccination to include administering influenza vaccines to children from the age of 10.

Both the PSA and the Pharmacy Guild welcomed the move, saying it will bring South Australia into alignment with most other jurisdictions in Australia.

“The Government is to be commended for bringing South Australia into line with pharmacist vaccination in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania, leading the way for other jurisdictions,” said PSA South Australian president Robyn Johns.

“Last year we saw South Australia hit by one of the worst flu seasons on record and the best way to protect our community in the future is through immunisation,” said Ms Johns.

“The more barriers we can remove to people getting vaccinated the better. The goal is herd immunity, having as many members of our community protected from infectious diseases like the flu as possible.

“Research shows consumers find pharmacies highly accessible because there is usually one in our neighbourhood or nearby and they are generally open longer hours than other primary health care services.

“Pharmacists already provide a range of vaccinations including flu vaccinations for South Australians 16 years and over. Now, pharmacists can extend this proven, safe service to children 10 years of age and above.”

The PSA highlighted that pharmacists’ training to administer vaccines is similar to that completed by other health care professionals and said it complements the work done by GPs, nurses, indigenous health workers and other immunisers.

“We believe this decision will protect more South Australians from influenza by increasing immunisation rates within our community at a time when people are concerned about protecting themselves from the communicable diseases,” Ms Johns said.

“We need people to be protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly at this time when there are concerns about the impact of coronavirus in our community.”

The South Australian branch of the Pharmacy Guild said that the move brings Australia a step closer to national harmonisation of flu vaccination delivery though community pharmacies.

It said that there is a “very strong” case for children as young as 10 years of age to be able to receive their annual vaccination against the flu from a community pharmacy by a trained pharmacist immuniser.

South Australian Branch President of the Pharmacy Guild, Nick Panayiaris, congratulated the State Government for implementing the change.

The Guild said it continued to urge the inclusion of community pharmacies in the distribution of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines for at-risk patients.

Mr Panayiaris said pharmacist immunisers will be able to implement this change without any difficulty because they already receive the same training as other immunisers.  

“Clearly pharmacists are part of the solution and giving pharmacists the ability to practise at their full scope, applying their training and expertise will bring great benefits to our health system.”

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