Older and vulnerable people in NSW will soon be able to access their seasonal influenza vaccines by visiting their local pharmacy, thanks to a commitment from the NSW Health Minister in response to a pre-budget submission by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).
The NSW Health Minister has committed to the PSA that eligible people in NSW will soon be able to access the seasonal influenza vaccine. This may be facilitated under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) from the 2022 influenza season. The commitment is contingent on working with the Commonwealth Government to secure the distribution and supply of the vaccines. This commitment also applies to Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines distributed via community pharmacies.
PSA NSW President, Chelsea Felkai, welcomed the NSW Health Minister’s announcement allowing pharmacist immunisers to provide NIP influenza vaccines. Ms Felkai said that it will give people more choice about when and where to get vaccinated.
“Particularly in regional and remote NSW, people may have trouble accessing a GP. In addition, some people do not visit a GP regularly, or do not have a GP. Allowing pharmacist immunisers to provide NIP influenza vaccines will increase vaccination rates and herd immunity to influenza within the NSW community.”
Annual influenza vaccines may be facilitated under the NIP for people most vulnerable to influenza, including those aged over 65 years.
All seasonal influenza vaccines administered are uploaded to a person’s individual vaccine record on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman applauded the NSW Health Minister’s initiative to build on the state’s already high vaccination rates.
“PSA’s vision for a safer, more accessible and more accountable health system, Pharmacists in 2023, is the foundation for all of our pre-budget submissions. This commitment from the NSW Health Minister shows further confidence in the provision of safe, effective health care by pharmacists.”
“Consistent with our vision, PSA continues to work with governments around Australia to help achieve a future where pharmacists are increasingly involved, responsible and accountable for the medicine safety of their patients.”
PSA commends the NSW Health Minister for his commitment, which brings the state in line with Western Australia, Victoria and the ACT, where pharmacists have been providing NIP influenza vaccines for several years.