The Victorian Government is encouraging consumers to protect themselves from whooping cough and the flu, highlighting that they can now receive flu and whooping cough vaccinations from their local pharmacist without having to visit a GP or nurse.
The Andrews Government is highlighting that eligible adults can now receive vaccines under the National Immunisation Program and the Government’s Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program from their pharmacists.
Last week the first patient in Victoria was vaccinated for pertussis by PSA Victorian Branch President Ben Marchant at Spiro Koutsis Pharmacy in Melbourne, supported by the Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy and senior health officials (pictured).
Giving families more options to access vaccinations not only protects those most at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, but helps to build immunity levels across the community to protect those that are too young or unable to be vaccinated, says the Victorian government.
It highlights that 87% of Victorians live within 2.5km of a pharmacist, offering a close and convenient option to access these critical vaccinations.
The Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program was axed by the former Liberal Government, and reintroduced by the Labor Government in June 2015.
Since its reintroduction, there has been a “massive” decrease in whooping cough cases, says Labor, with 1,419 cases so far this year, compared to 2,375 at the same time last year.
Around 136,000 doses of whooping cough vaccine have been distributed to immunisation providers since June 2015.
The new Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program will also mean Victorian pharmacists will be equipped to play an important role in response and management in the case of a future pandemic influenza.
“We know that with work and family commitments it can sometimes be hard to make time to get that flu shot – that’s why we’re giving Victorians another option to access these important vaccinations close to home,” says Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.
“With close to 90% of people living within walking distance or a 5 minute drive to a pharmacy, this will make getting vaccinated against the flu and whooping cough that little bit easier.
“With nearly a thousand fewer cases of whooping cough compared to this time last year after the reintroduction of our free whooping cough vaccine program for expectant and new parents, the evidence is clear.”