What you think of COVID-19 testing in pharmacies

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More than 1500 people voted on our poll over nearly one month – here are the final results

Our poll asking readers “Do you support COVID-19 testing in pharmacies?” ran on the AJP website from 18 August.

As of 3pm 15 September, 1590 respondents had voted on the poll. Voters could choose more than one option.

Among all respondents, 1089 (69%) said “No, this is a bad idea and puts staff and the public at risk”.

Forty percent (638 respondents) said “No, they don’t pay us enough for this”.

Just under a third (30%, 481 respondents) said “No, I don’t think pharmacists are appropriately trained to conduct COVID-19 tests”.

Meanwhile 16% (259 respondents) said “Yes” to supporting COVID-testing in pharmacies, “but only if pharmacies are provided with proper PPE and training, and have a consultation room”.

Five percent (77 respondents) said “Yes, but only if the service is not publicly promoted and captures only incidental customers”.

Just four percent (71 respondents) said “Yes, I think community pharmacies are appropriate centres for testing”.

Pharmacy organisations have been at odds over the proposal for COVID-19 testing trials in pharmacies. A trial was first run in South Australia in late July, followed by a trial being widely announced in Queensland in August.

The Queensland Pharmacy Guild branch has stated its support for the trial.

However the PSA has expressed concerns for the safety of pharmacy staff and patients, most recently calling for a moratorium. Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) also declared a state-wide safety ban of the trial early this month.

Queensland Health has told AJP that opportunistic testing of people with mild respiratory symptoms through community pharmacies will provide an additional layer of surveillance to Queensland Health.

“Pharmacists and pharmacy staff involved in testing will use personal protective equipment and hygiene measures to protect themselves and other customers,” it reassured.

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