Green light for pharmacist immunisers

green light new law approval

Pharmacy Guild welcomes regulatory approval for Victorian pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccine, with interns and students also able to undertake vaccination activities

Pharmacists immunisers in Victoria have been given regulatory approval by the state’s Department of Health to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Victorian pharmacists who have completed immuniser training, hold current first aid and CPR certificates, and have completed the Commonwealth COVID-19 Vaccination Training as well as any other required training, may be able to administer the vaccine.

The Health Secretary also made a public health emergency order allowing registered non-immuniser pharmacists, intern pharmacists and fourth-year pharmacy students to undertake ‘authorised vaccination activities’ in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine roll out—for example, drawing up of the vaccine and labelling in preparation for the actual administration to a patient.

The Victorian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild welcomed the regulatory approval.

“[It] is very timely as community pharmacies await a response to expressions of interest for participation in the Australian government’s COVID-19 vaccine program,” branch president Anthony Tassone told AJP.

“We also welcome the ability for other parts of our pharmacy workforce: registered pharmacists who are non-immunisers, intern pharmacists and fourth-year pharmacy students to be able to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out through undertaking authorised vaccination activities such as drawing up doses and labelling syringes in preparation of doses being administered to patients.

“Not only will it be a team effort across the entire health profession and nation in order to maximise vaccination levels, it also will be at the individual pharmacy and practice level to deliver the best care possible for patients,” said Mr Tassone.

“This announcement will help community pharmacies prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine roll out should they be successful in their application for the expression of interest which closed last Friday to participate. 

There has been a strong level of interest at both a Victorian state level and nationally for pharmacies wanting to participate in the Australian government’s COVID-19 vaccine program.

According to the Victoria Government Gazette, all pharmacists administering the COVID-19 vaccine must do so in accordance with the current Australian Immunisation Handbook and National Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Strive for 5.

They must also follow the Victorian COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines and any further guidelines issued by the Victorian or Federal government in relation to any COVID-19 vaccine.

Pharmacists immunisers must ensure that at least one other staff member that holds a current first aid and CPR certificate is on duty in the pharmacy when the COVID-19 vaccine is administered and for a minimum period of 15 minutes afterwards.

Vaccination must occur in a hospital, pharmacy, a pharmacy depot or a mobile or outreach service of one of these premises, or premises established by a municipal council, the Victorian Government or Federal Government for the purpose of administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

South Australia, the Northern Territory Parliament and Queensland have also authorised pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Read more about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout here

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