‘We do not see the police trying to fight fires.’

AMA WA branch president Dr Andrew Miller has criticised the state’s move to expand pharmacist vaccination, saying pharmacists are not best qualified to deliver it

This week, state Health Minister Roger Cook announced at a Pharmacy Guild forum that trained pharmacists would be able to administer the dTpa (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and meningococcal (ACWY) vaccines to people aged 16 years and over.

Mr Cook said that many pharmacists in the state are already trained to administer these additional vaccines.

He says he expects the rest to be trained by October 2019, and encouraged the public to check with their local pharmacy whether this was the case.

“Everyone should be fully immunised against these potentially deadly illnesses and allowing pharmacists to issue these vaccines will ensure more Western Australians are protected,” Mr Cook said. 

“All other Australian states and territories have extended the range of vaccines available via pharmacy without a prescription.

“This simple change supplements existing immunisation programs and brings Western Australia into line with the rest of the nation, it improves national consistency in relation to pharmacist-issued vaccines.

“If you are an adult relative, such as a grandparent, who will be coming into contact with a new baby you can now get a booster shot for whooping cough from your local pharmacist. It will protect your grandchild from a potentially fatal disease.

“People should check with their local pharmacist to see when they will commence administrating these vaccines.”

The move was welcomed by the PSA and the Pharmacy Guild.

However Dr Andrew Miller, who was elected AMA WA branch president in July and who has been a vocal critic of pharmacists practising to full scope since, took to the media to criticise the decision.

“We do not see the police trying to fight fires and we do not see firefighters trying to arrest people,” Dr Miller told the ABC.

“This is about sticking to the things you are best trained and qualified to do.

“Pharmacists are qualified to deliver this service but they are not the best qualified to deliver the service.”

He also spoke to News Corp media, saying that doctors could spot other health problems if patients chose to be vaccinated by them instead.

“The safest and best place to have vaccinations done is with your local family doctor,” he said.

“That puts your family’s health first and puts profit second.

“We’ll let patients make their own conclusions about whether they’d rather have someone who’s done the online module or someone who during their career has worked in an emergency department.”

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