Pharmacists have now administered one million COVID-19 vaccines across the country since community pharmacies joined the rollout
One million COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered by pharmacists since community pharmacies got involved, according to latest data from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
PSA National President Chris Freeman said pharmacists are key to getting Australia’s vaccination rates over the line.
“Today, pharmacists have achieved yet another milestone in the vaccine rollout, administering more than one million COVID-19 vaccinations to Australians,” he said on Thursday.
“Pharmacist immunisers have been the key to bolstering vaccination rates across the country, and community pharmacy has managed the surge in demand brilliantly
“This patient-centric approach is evidently paying dividends, with states like NSW and ACT now within touching distance of ‘life after lockdown’,” said A/Prof Freeman.
“Just yesterday, almost 40,000 vaccines were administered by pharmacists, a staggering achievement. It is apparent that increased vaccine choice and greater accessibility is having a positive impact amongst the community.”
A/Prof Freeman thanked community pharmacists for their efforts.
To all those pharmacists who have remained open beyond business hours and on weekends in order to vaccinate their communities, I thank you – but moreover, Australia thanks you.
“Local pharmacies have fridges full of both AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, so I encourage all who remain unvaccinated to book in for their vaccination with their local pharmacist,” he added.
Community pharmacies have been a critical element of the push to maximise vaccination uptake across the country, said the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
“The onboarding of community pharmacies into the rollout has been a phenomenal success by any measure,” said Guild National President Trent Twomey.
“On-boarding community pharmacies has helped to get us on track to opening the country up again when we reach maximum vaccination targets.
“Initially supplying the AstraZeneca and more recently the Moderna vaccine, community pharmacies have filled a void in the strategy to vaccinate the population,” said Mr Twomey.
“A critical factor in the huge success of community pharmacies in the vaccination rollout is their accessibility.
“We are open when other health professionals and vaccine providers are not, and pharmacies providing COVID-19 vaccinations have gone the extra mile to stay open, longer, at weekends and even at times to suit individual patients.
“I congratulate all community pharmacies involved in providing COVID-19 vaccinations for helping to reach this milestone which reinforces the faith patients have in this critical sector of the healthcare system.”
Community pharmacy and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Community pharmacies have certainly been on a journey since the pandemic began.
There was initial reluctance from governments to allow all eligible pharmacies to get involved, with some limiting the rollout to regional and rural areas, although more pharmacies continued to be added into the fold.
However pharmacy involvement soon ramped up as the Delta variant wreaked havoc on communities, particularly in NSW.
By August, the Federal government had begun running ads advertising COVID-19 vaccine availability in community pharmacies.
Numbers of administered vaccines increased dramatically, with pharmacies reporting more than 10,000 vaccinations in one day across the country in mid-August.
Moderna became available in community pharmacies from 20 September, targeting those aged 12-59 year olds.
And last week, national eligibility for Moderna was expanded to include those aged over 60 years, offering greater vaccine choice and access to mRNA through pharmacies.
One pharmacist told AJP their rate of vaccination has doubled now that the age restriction has been lifted on Moderna.
“A lot of people over 60 were waiting to get a vaccine other than AstraZeneca, and once the rule has changed and they are eligible now to get it, they get it in very high numbers,” Amir Hanna, proprietor of Port MacDonnell Pharmacy, said.