First interns to start intern year with flu jab accreditation

Newly registered intern pharmacists Tamara Haddad (left) and Charmy Choe from the University of Sydney Master of Pharmacy program learn how to administer influenza vaccine at the Pharmacy Guild Pharmacist Administered Influenza Vaccine training course.

University of Sydney Master of Pharmacy graduates undertake accredited influenza vaccination training

Recently registered intern pharmacists from the University of Sydney’s Master of Pharmacy degree program this week completed the Pharmacy Guild’s Pharmacist Administration of Influenza Vaccination course.

This means that these provisionally registered pharmacists will be the first interns in Australia to commence their intern year accredited to administer influenza vaccinations.

The University’s Professor Peter Carroll told the AJP that training the interns recognises the importance of pharmacist-administered influenza vaccinations.

“Jane Hanrahan and I did a study of pharmacists who administered influenza vaccines over the flu season this year, and there was immense public support for it,” Prof Carroll says.

“One of the major things that we did find was that 20% of people who the pharmacist vaccinated had never been vaccinated before.

“Pregnant women are at greater risk from influenza, and the vaccination rate for pregnant women for influenza is very, very low in this country. In our study a number of pregnant women were vaccinated by the pharmacist.

“So I see this very much as a complementary thing to what GPs are doing, and as creating a synergy, working together, because if we can increase the vaccination rates for influenza in the community, it is a major public health initiative.”

The general public does not have good awareness that influenza is a serious illness with the potential to be fatal, Prof Carroll points out.

“People forget that every year, over 3000 people die of influenza, so it’s not a disease that should be taken lightly.

“Pharmacist-administered vaccination is an added way that a lot of people who would never have had the vaccine can get it—and that’s got to be good for the community. If you don’t get influenza, you’re a much healthier person as a result, but you’re also not infecting other people.

“So we’re very happy to be training our interns to do this. These guys are the first interns in the country that will be accredited.”

Intern pharmacists are already skilled in many aspects of pharmacy practice and the addition of influenza vaccination training will significantly increase their scope of practice, sayd Professor Iqbal Ramzan, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney.

He added, “the Faculty is pleased to be working with the Pharmacy Guild to provide our students with this opportunity.

“The ability to administer the influenza vaccine will allow them to make a significant contribution to public health in Australia from the start of their career.”

Pharmacy Guild Acting President Mark Douglass says, “The Guild is very pleased to work with the University of Sydney to provide this course for their Master of Pharmacy graduates, preparing them for their future role as pharmacists and ensuring that they are prepared for the 2017 flu season.”

Interns completing the course were also very positive about the additional skills they gained by completing the training, believing that it made them more confident and better prepared for their intern year leading to enhanced employment prospects.

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