Vaccine expansion in Victoria

Pharmacist administers a vaccine. Source: PSA.
Pharmacist administers a vaccine. Source: PSA.

Victorian pharmacists will soon be able to administer the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to people aged 15 years and over

The move was welcomed by the PSA, which said that it means pharmacists will be able to protect more Victorians against vaccine-preventable diseases.

This is the first time trained pharmacists in Victoria will be able to administer this vaccine. The minimum age for pharmacist-administered measles-mumps-rubella and whooping cough vaccines has been lowered to people aged 15 years (previously 16 years)

In addition, as previously announced by Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos last year, trained pharmacists will also be able to administer influenza vaccinations to people aged 10 years and above (previously 16 years and over).

All changes will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Changes to the Secretary Approval: Pharmacist Immunisers gazetted today will also allow greater flexibility for pharmacists to provide vaccinations via mobile and outreach services of a hospital, pharmacy or pharmacy depot, says the PSA.

PSA Victorian President John Jackson welcomed the move to increase access to pharmacist-administered vaccinations services in Victoria, and in particular to formally lower the minimum vaccination age from 16 years to 10 years for influenza vaccinations in readiness for the 2020 influenza season.

“At a time when our health care system is under extreme pressure, increasing options for Victorians to access vaccination services is extremely helpful,” Mr Jackson said.

“Our members have experienced parent’s frustrations in recent influenza seasons where it was difficult to arrange access for their children to get their seasonal influenza vaccine and these changes will go a long way to addressing this hurdle.”

Mr Jackson commended the government’s decision to allow pharmacists to protect more Victorians from influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Pharmacists are well trained in the administration of these vaccines and are more accessible to the community than any other health provider. Pharmacists have become an integral part of Victoria’s vaccination provider network, and these changes will allow pharmacists to make a greater contribution to increasing immunity in our community,” he said.

PSA said it commends the Victorian Government and the Department of Health and Human Services for continuing to support the use of pharmacists’ expertise and training.

“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has advocated for many years, including most recently in PSA’s Victorian pre-budget submission, to allow pharmacists to deliver more vaccinations to a wider age range of patients.

“We will continue to work closely with the Victorian Government to remove more barriers which restrict pharmacists from administering other vaccines to protect the Victorian community.”

Anthony Tassone, Victorian branch president of the Pharmacy Guild, said the move highlights the community’s approval of pharmacist vaccination.

“Over 13 million Australians have been vaccinated against the flu in 2019, with over 2 million having received their vaccination from a community pharmacy,” he said.

“Clearly pharmacists are part of the solution and giving pharmacists the ability to practise at their full scope, applying their training and expertise will bring great benefits to our health system.

“The public have spoken – and embraced pharmacist immunisation. With the ever present challenges on our health care system, the more opportunities we can provide our patients to best protect themselves against the flu the better.”


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