Clinics over, but pharmacists can still vaccinate

The Tasmanian branch of the Guild is encouraging people to speak with their pharmacies about meningococcal vaccination

The Tasmanian Government held two free meningococcal ACWY vaccination clinics in the northern suburbs of Hobart, but many eligible people may have missed out on being vaccinated.

The Government recently announced that it would make vaccination against the A, C, W and Y strains of meningococcal disease free for Tasmanians aged six weeks to 20 years of age.

This followed an outbreak of the disease in Hobart, including one case where a 16-year-old girl died.

The Guild has reiterated that Tasmanian pharmacies are now able to offer the free vaccination to patients aged between 10 and 20 years of age.

It says that the takeup of flu vaccination has been widely accepted across the island state, and that the expansion of the scope of pharmacist vaccination to cover meningococcal disease was an “appropriate response” to the outbreak, which reflected community concern about the disease.

It urged all who qualify for the vaccine across the state to take the opportunity to receive the vaccination, and encouraged Tasmanians to talk to their local community pharmacy about the availability of the vaccination service in their area.

According to Health Minister Michael Ferguson, more than 45,000 vaccines have been distributed around the State, including to pharmacists and GPs, and more than 100 pharmacist immunisers have been provided with additional vaccination training.

Earlier this month, then acting president of the Tasmanian branch of the Guild Madeleine Bowerman told the AJP that the demand for meningococcal vaccine underlined the importance of pharmacists’ ability to step up and provide accessible services.

“It’s a public health issue. Increasing the uptake of immunisation can only be a good outcome, both for patients and the Government,” she said at the time.

“We’ll have lower health costs, fewer people being admitted to hospitals and greater herd immunity.”

Not long afterwards, PSA research revealed that 64% of Australians support expanded pharmacist vaccinations, with 62% citing convenience as a benefit.

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