South Australian health minister Jack Snelling has encouraged Australians in his state to be vaccinated against flu, announcing that more than 50 pharmacists in South Australia can administer the flu vaccine.
In getting his vaccination yesterday, Snelling said this helps increase access and protection for the community, as the pharmacists join GPs and registered nurses in providing the 2015 seasonal influenza vaccine.
“Every year thousands of South Australians are struck down with the flu, even though it’s an illness which can be easily prevented with a simple vaccination,” he says.
“Earlier this year the State Government announced that pharmacists could also administer flu vaccinations, rather than contracting a registered nurse to provide the service.
“So far 52 pharmacists have completed the required training programs and we expect to see more come on board in the coming weeks with other pharmacists in their final stages of training.
“Allowing pharmacists to directly administer the flu shot is expected to encourage a greater uptake of the vaccine, especially from people who feel they don’t have time to visit their GP.”
Last year South Australia recorded more than 11,000 confirmed flu cases, the highest number on record; many more cases went unrecorded.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia (SA) President Nick Panayiaris says the Guild is facilitating training courses for pharmacists to meet the required training accreditation.
“We anticipate that many more pharmacies will be offering this service over this winter season,” Panayiaris says.
The 2015 influenza vaccine contains three strains that experts have predicted will cause most of the flu cases in Australia this year – two A strains H1N1 and H3N2, and a B strain.