Community pharmacists begin COVID jabs

Sue Pocock vaccinates the Guild’s Suzanne Greenwood.
Sue Pocock vaccinates the Guild’s Suzanne Greenwood.

The first COVID-19 vaccination delivered through a community pharmacy in Australia has been administered

Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild, Suzanne Greenwood, was the first person to have the COVID-19 vaccination at the Boonah Pharmacy in Queensland on Monday morning.

The jab was administered by Footes Boonah Pharmacy’s pharmacist immuniser Sue Pocock.

Guild Queensland Branch Acting President Chris Owen welcomed the announcement from the Federal Government that 49 community pharmacies across Queensland would begin offering free COVID vaccinations to members of the community commencing Monday, 7 June 2021.

Mr Owen and Ms Greenwood were joined by Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton MP and Scott Buchholz MP, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport.

Mr Owen said that Queensland is leading the way nationally, as it is home to the first pharmacies in Australia to be able to offer the vaccine to community members.

“We’re very proud to once again be leading the way in Queensland,” said Mr Owen.

“The Federal and State Government have shown great leadership in ensuring Queensland Pharmacies would be able to make sure communities across Queensland would have access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I know as Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Minister Coulton, understands many Queenslanders don’t have easy access to other primary healthcare services or local GP clinics.

“The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is the most critical health initiative in our generation, and community pharmacies are well placed to deliver.”

Ms Greenwood noted the significance of the occasion.

“Knowing the training pharmacists have undergone, and the stringent approval process they have been subject too, gave me extreme confidence in having my vaccination delivered at a community pharmacy,” she said.

“I am also extremely pleased to have had my vaccination at Boonah Pharmacy because this is where my grandfather was born and we have long and cherished family connections with this area.”

National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey said the start of the vaccination rollout in pharmacies was an important step in the effort to maximise immunisation rates across all of Australia.

“This is a watershed moment in helping to maximise the uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia,” he said.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible of all healthcare professionals and among the most trusted.

“In addition, community pharmacies offer the community the facility for patients to organise to have their vaccinations at times when other vaccination hubs may not be operating.

 “Many community pharmacies are open after normal business hours during the week and also during the weekend. Clearly this makes it far more convenient for patients to be able to get their vaccinations.

“With the community pharmacy network extending into areas where at times the pharmacist is the only healthcare professional available it is clear that this is a major step forward in achieving maximum uptake of vaccinations,” he said.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said Monday was a turning point in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

“Today is the day that many rural communities have been waiting for, with Queensland community pharmacies able to help vaccinate and protect them against COVID-19,” he said.

“This adds to those pharmacists in hospitals, general practice, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) who have been involved in the COVID19 vaccine rollout thus far.

“We are at a critical juncture in Australia’s fight against this deadly disease and pharmacist involvement must run parallel with the increasing supply of these highly-effective vaccines.”

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