As community pharmacy passes a vaccination milestone, one stakeholder has put the last state to allow pharmacists to vaccinate adolescents on notice
Data from the Australian Immunisation Register shows that pharmacists have achieved another significant milestone – more than 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines – through community pharmacies.
This is in addition to the many thousands administered by pharmacists in vaccination hubs, General Practice and other settings.
Trent Twomey, national president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, told the AJP that the Guild had been liaising with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Health Minister’s office and state and territory governments “to make sure that’s five million, not five hundred thousand”.
“The Guild won’t rest until we hit the magic 80% mark, and states and territories can reopen,” he said.
Late last week, the Tasmanian Department of Health announced that pharmacists will be able to administer the Moderna vaccine to Tasmanians aged 12 and older.
Mr Twomey said that “We have one state yet to ensure it has the right legislative enablement – they know who they are – and they’re on notice”.
“They’ve got a couple of days to fix the problem before we start calling it out.”
He said that frontline community pharmacies are doing an “outstanding” job.
“They’re just heads down, bums up, doing the right thing on the frontline with little thanks and fanfare,” he said.
“I’ll be forever grateful for the work they’ve put in during this tough time.”
The National President of the PSA, A/Prof Chris Freeman, commended Australia’s pharmacist immunisers for their continued efforts, and welcomed the additional million doses of the Moderna vaccine, announced by the Morrison Government this week.
“In just a few short weeks, pharmacists have administered over half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Australians – and I applaud all of the country’s pharmacist immunisers for their dedication to protecting their communities, especially those in hotspot areas where the risk of exposure remains high,” Dr Freeman said.
“With Moderna becoming available exclusively in community pharmacies over the next few weeks, and with pharmacists now allowed to vaccinate those over the age of 12 with Moderna, we expect these numbers to grow rapidly.
“PSA commends Minister Hunt and the Morrison Government for securing an additional 1 million doses of supply, ensuring that the first group of approved Australian pharmacies are well stocked with Moderna in order to protect their communities against this disease.
“As the data shows, pharmacists have put a significant dent in vaccination targets already – and with increased vaccine choice, they will play a significant role in further reducing the ambivalence and hesitancy amongst their local communities.
“As there is now a third of eligible Australian’s vaccinated with two doses, we have some way to go before we can rest easy, but I know the pharmacist profession is up to the challenge,” A/Prof Freeman said.
Mr Twomey told the AJP that the vaccination rollout was “a race”.
“The bit I love at the moment is the state rivalry that’s happening between my branches on who’s going to be first to hit the magic 80% mark – I’m thoroughly enjoying the friendly banter!”