Pharmacy vax gets thumbs up

Health Minister Greg Hunt receives his 2021 flu vaccine

Leading health ministers have been vaccinated by pharmacists in recent days, but overall flu vaccination numbers are lagging behind

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt received his flu vaccine from Terry Bateman Pharmacy at Mt Martha, Victoria last Friday.

He is pictured above having his vaccine administered by pharmacist and proprietor, John-Paul Daggian.

Meanwhile Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton (pictured right) received his flu vaccine from Exhibition Pharmacy in Melbourne’s CBD on Monday.

It was administered by pharmacist and proprietor Stephen Speirs.

Nearly 620,000 doses of flu vaccine have been administered by community pharmacies around the country.

“The Guild is very pleased that the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt and the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton – both of whom were very public faces and important voices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – chose to receive their flu vaccination from their local community pharmacy,” Anthony Tassone, Victorian branch president of the Pharmacy Guild, told AJP.

“Most community pharmacies offer a vaccination service – and being the most frequently visited and most accessible primary health care destination in Australia, provide a trusted and valued point of access for patients to be protected against the seasonal flu.

“Pharmacies are well stocked with flu vaccines to help administer to their patients and community.

“It’s important that the public do not become complacent about the flu due to lower case numbers being recorded for a second year in a row – due to social distancing, improved hygiene and international border closures as it can be a potentially serious and even life-threatening for some patients.”

Mr Tassone said reports from community pharmacies and data from the upload of records to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) suggest a significantly lower number of vaccines have been delivered this year compared to the same time in 2020.

As of 13 May 2021, 4.55 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines have been administered and entered into the AIR this year.

This is compared to more than 7.2 million doses for the same time last year.

In recognising the importance of flu vaccination, the Victorian Department of Health are launching a public messaging campaign to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu and not putting a strain on an already stretched health system, said Mr Tassone.

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