The ACT Government has moved to expand pharmacist vaccination in the Territory
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia ACT Branch has welcomed confirmation that the ACT Government will lower the age pharmacists can administer flu vaccinations to children to 10 years.
“It is a positive and timely step ahead of what threatens to be another bad season for influenza,” said Simon Blacker, the ACT Branch President of the Guild.
“With the public health focus squarely on COVID-19, it is very important that as many people as possible in the ACT are protected against contracting influenza, so that they are fit and healthy as we strive to minimise the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
The change in the minimum age is one of a number of significant changes to pharmacist vaccination in the ACT to be formalised on Wednesday.
In addition to reducing the minimum age to 10 years, pregnant women will also be able to be vaccinated by pharmacists in the ACT.
Pharmacists will also be authorised to administer the measles, mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine. The changes relate to private vaccine only.
By allowing pharmacists to administer privately purchased flu vaccines to people aged 10 years and over, and to pregnant women, families will have more choice when seeking a flu vaccination, says the Guild.
This “beneficial” change will allow trained pharmacist vaccinators to make an even bigger contribution to herd immunity in the ACT, it says. It also brings the ACT into line with other jurisdictions that have taken this step.
“We thank the Minister for Health and the ACT Government for this timely move,” Mr Blacker said.
The PSA also welcomed the change, with PSA ACT Branch President Renae Beardmore saying the announcement is timely given the ongoing threat of COVID-19 leading into the flu season and also brings the ACT in line with other states and territories.
“At a time when our health care system is under extreme pressure due to COVID-19, increasing options for more people in the ACT to access vaccinations is vital,” Ms Beardmore said.
“The decision to lower the age to 10 years and older for the influenza vaccine will protect younger children and make it more convenient for families, improving rates of immunisation across the ACT.
“Pharmacists are more accessible to the community than any other health provider and combined with the trust consumers have in the profession, these changes will allow pharmacists to make a greater contribution to increasing immunity across the ACT.”
Ms Beardmore commended the Government’s decision to allow pharmacists to protect more people in the ACT from influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has advocated for many years, including most recently in PSA’s 2020-21 ACT pre-budget submission, to allow pharmacists to deliver more vaccinations to a wider range of patients.
“PSA will continue to work closely with the ACT Government to remove barriers which restrict pharmacists from administering other vaccines to better protect the community.”