Pharmacists in community pharmacies across Tasmania will now be able to administer the flu shot to their customers.
The President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Tasmanian Branch John Dowling, has welcomed the changes to the Tasmanian Poisons Regulations 2008 which allow appropriately trained pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines to people aged over 18, making it easier for the public to get a flu shot.
“This is a victory for the health care consumers of Tasmania, and a very welcome common sense measure,” Dowling says.
“The availability of vaccination by pharmacists will greatly assist the community’s access to protection against influenza, particularly in rural and regional areas where previously they may have not had accessibility,” he says.
“Tasmanian pharmacists have always been a trusted source of health services and advice, and vaccination will now become another service pharmacists will take on and perform professionally for the benefit of the community.”
The easiest way to prevent catching the flu is to get a vaccination every year, but many people have difficulty finding the time to book an appointment with their GP, according to the Guild.
Allowing pharmacists to directly administer the flu shot to adults will encourage a greater uptake of the vaccine in 2016.
“Offering vaccinations through pharmacies is a great way to reach people who may not have had a flu shot before, which helps to increase immunity across the entire community,” Dowling says.
Some pharmacies have offered flu shots for a number of years, however previously these had to be administered by a registered nurse.
Pharmacists wishing to administer flu vaccines will need to undergo appropriate training to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to both deliver the vaccine and identify and treat any possible side effects. The pharmacy they work for will also need to be approved by the Director of Public Health.
The Pharmacy Guild will be providing accredited training to community pharmacists to ensure Tasmanian Pharmacies are prepared and ready to go in time for the 2016 flu season.