GP comment ‘absolutely insulting’ over pharmacist competence

A high-profile GP has questioned pharmacists’ competence when it comes to anaphylaxis, following the first COVID-19 jab in community pharmacy

Shortly after pharmacist immuniser Sue Pocock administered the first Australian COVID-19 vaccination in community pharmacy to the Guild’s Suzanne Grenwood, Kerryn Phelps, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, took to Twitter.

“I wonder how many community pharmacists have actually managed a case of anaphylaxis? #Covid #VACCINE” she wrote.

Anthony Tassone, Victorian branch president of the Pharmacy Guild, responded.

“Pharmacists report adverse and allergic reactions as doctors do via the necessary channels for vaccinations,” he tweeted. “In the past 3 years of delivering vaccinations we have had two serious anaphylactic reactions that were promptly treated and patient recovered.

“Pharmacists are trained and competent to give immunisations (for those who have done the additional study).

“It’s not helpful casting doubt on health professional colleagues during a global pandemic when we need all immuniser hands on deck. The scaremongering can stop now.”

He then responded, “I wonder if this was a workplace how many times that a health professional could question and undermine your capabilities and competencies in line with your training and registration before it would be classified as bullying? To bullies we say stop #CovidVaccine”

Mr Tassone told the AJP that “It is entirely predictable and laughable that amid calls by the Pharmacy Guild for the involvement in community pharmacies in the COVID-19 vaccination roll out that a former AMA president would renew hostilities towards her health professional colleagues and question their competence and capabilities”.

“To Dr Kerryn Phelps, a message from Australians wanting to get vaccinated during a global pandemic – stop it,” he said.

“Stop being a detractor of your colleagues who are there to be part of a team to help deliver patient care.

“Stop undermining suitably trained and competent health professionals who are only wanting to help protect their patients and communities on a pathway to recovery.

“During a health crisis – the public rightly expect and deserve their health professionals to work together as a team for their interest not self-interest of practitioners.

“We literally need all immuniser hands on deck to undertake this massive task of vaccinating all eligible patients in our population,” he said.

“To read her comments whilst in Melbourne during lockdown knowing that in my own pharmacy and in those of many of my colleagues we are turning away ready, willing and eligible patients every day for COVID-19 vaccination as we don’t have stock is absolutely insulting.

“If she genuinely has an interest in learning of the state government approved training undertaken by pharmacists in delivering vaccinations, a service that has been deemed within the scope of practice by our regulatory professional board, we’re only too happy to assist.

“But the repeated and persistent public jibes lends one to think otherwise.

“If this was a workplace – it could be deemed bullying.  Repeated mistreatment of others with the potential to cause emotional harm.

“To bullies. We say stop.”

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  1. “To bullies. We say stop.” it is equally criminal to force such jobs of vaccinations onto pharmacist while paying them bare minimum wages i.e 30 dollars per hour.

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