Pharmacist vaccination debate not about money and turf: Nissen


QPIP trial leader Professor Lisa Nissen has slammed remarks made in a blog yesterday by Dr Edwin Kruys, who criticised the QPIP data as “superficial, selective and shows elements of observer bias”.

Dr Kruys, who is is Chair of RACGP Queensland and member of the AMA Queensland Council of General Practice, republished an opinion piece from Doctor Q on his Doctor’s Bag blog yesterday, in which he said that no independent analysis was undertaken to evaluate the trials.

“No analysis was undertaken to establish the clinical need for the vaccinations,” Dr Kruys wrote. “No analysis was undertaken to determine what proportion of these vaccinations were high risk.

“The trials did not reveal evidence about the impact on vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. There was no comparison with alternatives such as walk-in vaccination clinics in general practice.”

Prof Nissen, who is the PSA’s immunisation spokesperson, says,The results of the Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot speak for themselves. There is nothing ambiguous in the figures.

“We don’t see this is as a debate about money and turf – it’s about public health outcomes and patient healthcare.”

Every state and territory government has now recognised pharmacists who approved to deliver a range of vaccinations across Australia, she points out.

“Pharmacists are key primary healthcare providers and are well placed to contribute to improved access to immunisation,” says Prof NIssen.

“The QPIP was undertaken to evaluate the implementation of trained pharmacists as immunisation providers in community pharmacy. 

“Immunisation is within the approved scope of practice of pharmacists in Australia and is a well-established role in many other parts of the world.”

An aim of the pilot was to look at targeting non-national Immunisation program patients, Prof Nissen says.

“This was about people not generally receiving care not though GP services.

“Overall 15% of people who attended a pharmacy for a vaccination during QPIP had never been vaccinated before. This means more people had vaccinations which is the key outcome – improving vaccination rates.

“Many patients said that they would not have been vaccinated if they couldn’t have gone to a pharmacy (including some who knew they could receive it free through the GP) because it was more accessible to them and convenient through their local pharmacists.

“This is not about where and who provides the service – it’s the fact that all health professionals should be working with each other to improve vaccination rates and spread the message about the importance of vaccination, particularly for our higher risk groups.”

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