The accessibility of pharmacist vaccination is helping kids of anti-vax parents gain access to the service, says Qld health minister
A few days ago, it was announced that Queensland pharmacists are now able to vaccinate 16-year-olds for influenza, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles says the changes will make it easier for 16- and 17-year-old Queenslanders and their parents.
“Previously only GPs could vaccinate under 18s,” he says.
“Queenslanders aged 16-and-over can get their vaccinations without parental consent, so these changes will make it much easier for them to access vaccinations like the flu shot.
“This will also make life easier for parents with teenage children.”
With the anti-vaccination movement growing in Australia, the Queensland Health Minister says the amendments also allow younger Queenslanders to make their own decisions about getting vaccinated.
“This is a step in the right direction for Queensland to reduce the barriers for kids of anti-vax parents to gain access to vaccines for preventable diseases,” Mr Miles says.
“It also brings Queensland into line with other states and territories.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomed the announcement and agreed that it would enable young people to have enhanced access.
“We know that it is vital we build herd immunity against influenza, and given that it can affect people of all ages within our community, the best protection against the flu is to have as many people vaccinated as possible,” Paul Jaffar, Guild Branch Committee Member (Qld), told AJP.
“We welcome and support the Health Minister’s announcement that will enable younger Queenslanders to have more options and enhanced access to receiving a flu vaccination,” says Mr Jaffar.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says pharmacists provide an additional opportunity for vaccination for people who would not otherwise get vaccinated.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of contagious, preventable diseases,” says Dr Young.
“Increasing the access to vaccines for preventable diseases increases not only the individual’s protection, but also helps reduce the spread of the disease within the community – also known as herd immunity.”