The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch’s Acting President, Chris Owen, joined Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure Julieanne Gilbert MP in Sarina, Queensland, today as the Assistant Minister received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Discount Drug Store, Sarina.
Mr Owen said he was thrilled to be in Sarina with the Assistant Minister to promote the regional rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines through community pharmacies.
“I’m excited to be here in Sarina with Assistant Minister Julieanne Gilbert as we celebrate the fact that Queensland is once again leading the way nationally, being the first pharmacies in Australia to be able to offer the vaccine to community members,” said Mr Owen
“Yesterday was a very important day for Queensland as our state became the first in Australia to extend the COVID-19 vaccination program to community pharmacies,” said Mr Owen.
Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said that she was happy to roll up her sleeve to receive the vaccine.
“I want to encourage everyone to take up the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccination when it’s offered to them,” said the Assistant Minister.
“As a regional Queenslander myself, I am really pleased that the Palaszczuk Queensland Government was the first State Government to utilise the network of community pharmacies to ensure equitable access to the vaccine in the regions.
“I want to thank all of the people who have already taken up the opportunity to get their vaccine.
“I also want to thank all of the hardworking health staff, including our regional community pharmacists who are working tirelessly to keep regional communities safe.”
Mr. Owen said because most communities in Queensland have access to a pharmacy, they form a vital network in the fight against COVID-19.
“Community pharmacies are highly accessible with 97% of consumers in capital cities and 65% in regional areas living within 2.5km of a pharmacy. Pharmacies are also the most frequently visited primary healthcare destinations, and staff are well placed for significant interactions with members of the public,” said Mr. Owen.
“Community pharmacies have a proud history of being at the forefront of supporting patients through the best primary healthcare practices,” said Mr. Owen, “We were the first state to provide critical vaccination programs and advance women’s healthcare through the Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q) through community pharmacies.”
“I would like to pay particular tribute to Queensland’s Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Yvette D’Ath. Minister D’Ath’s forward-thinking and leadership have ensured Queensland is in the great position it is,” Mr. Owen said.
“The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is the most critical health initiative in our generation, and community pharmacies are well placed to deliver. The Pharmacy Guild looks forward to working closely with both Federal and State Governments to quickly increase the number of community pharmacies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to improve patient accessibility,” said Mr. Owen.
“Anyone administering a COVID-19 vaccine in community pharmacies will undergo training with the Australian College of Nurses on this specific vaccine.”