‘Our doorway out of the pandemic.’

Activating South Australian community pharmacies to provide COVID-19 jabs makes “makes perfect sense,” says the state government in announcing the role the sector is to play

South Australia’s Marshall Liberal Government is activating regional, rural and remote pharmacies across the state to provide the COVID-19 vaccine.

Premier Steven Marshall encouraged South Australians to turn up at participating pharmacies and get vaccinated as soon as they became eligible.

“We are looking at about 100 rural and remote pharmacies to participate in this expansion of the vaccination program to meet an identified need in those communities,” said Premier Marshall.

“South Australians have now received more than 425,000 COVID vaccination doses as we ramp up the rollout throughout our state.

“Making it easier for people to be vaccinated is another key plank in our COVID-19 plan, which is keeping South Australians safe and our economy strong during the pandemic and we now have more people employed than ever before in the history of the state.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said that SA Health is launching the initiative in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, community pharmacy organisations and the networks of community pharmacies.

“The vaccination program is our doorway out of the pandemic, and we want to do everything we can to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is readily accessible for all South Australians,” said Minister Wade.

“We have opened more clinics, extended access to existing clinics and to more groups of people, and are now working with South Australian community pharmacies to expand our COVID-19 vaccination rollout further.

“Community pharmacists are trained vaccinators who already play a fundamental part in providing access to immunisation for South Australians, administering seasonal influenza as well as a range of other vaccines.

“There is already a strong community acceptance and uptake of pharmacist vaccinations in Australia and there is existing capability within the pharmacy network, so it makes perfect sense to enable the community pharmacy workforce to provide more options for people to get their COVID-19 vaccine, especially in rural and remote areas.”

South Australia’s Chief Pharmacist Naomi Burgess said consultation and planning is underway to ensure the community pharmacy expansion is ready to go ahead as soon as the South Australian plan is finalised and approved by the Commonwealth Government, which is hoped could be as soon as a month from now.

“We have had a great response from the South Australian community pharmacy sector, who are very keen to be involved in supporting their community by playing their part in the rollout of this vital vaccine,” Ms Burgess said.

“Approximately 100 rural and remote pharmacies in South Australia were assessed as eligible to provide COVID-19 vaccination through the Commonwealth Government’s expression of interest earlier this year.

“We are now seeking Commonwealth approval for all the pharmacies who met the stringent expression of interest criteria to be given the opportunity to participate in the program.

“Rural and remote pharmacies will be the first to come online in the program. Metropolitan pharmacies will also be considered once further vaccine supplies are available.

“We continue to engage with community pharmacies and look forward to providing more details on how the vaccine can be accessed through community pharmacies in the coming weeks.”

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