Queensland community pharmacies first to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Member for Health and Aged Care, announced at Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference (APP2021) that 56 Queensland community pharmacies will be the first to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations nationally. Thousands of community pharmacists attending APP2021 on the Gold Coast heard the announcement directly from Minister Hunt, who gave an update on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout during the opening plenary.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch Acting President, Chris Owen, congratulated Minister Hunt and the Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, Queensland’s Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, for ensuring that Australians have access to the COVID-19 vaccination, as quickly as possible.

“Minister D’Ath has been focused on ensuring that regional and remote communities in Queensland have access to the COVID-19 vaccination through community pharmacies. She understands that many Queenslanders don’t have easy access to other primary healthcare services or local GP clinics.”

“Minister D’Ath continues to work closely with the Pharmacy Guild to ensure that all Queensland communities, particularly those in regional and remote areas, have access to primary healthcare and the COVID-19 vaccine.”

“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.

“Given the need to vaccinate as many Australians as quickly as possible and the decentralised nature of our state, we thank Minister D’Ath for leading the way and ensuring that community pharmacies are part of the solution. As frontline primary healthcare professionals with an extensive network across the length and breadth of Queensland, we stand ready to support her and the Federal and State Governments to rollout this vital vaccine as quickly and safely as possible.”

“The Queensland Government and 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.

“The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is the most critical health initiative in our generation and community pharmacies are well placed to deliver.”

“Anyone administering a COVID-19 vaccine in community pharmacies will undergo training with the Australian College of Nurses on this specific vaccine.”

“We look forward to working closely with both Federal and State Governments to increase the number of community pharmacies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to improve patient accessibility,” said Mr. Owen.

Minister Hunt also congratulated community pharmacies in his plenary speech for being accessible primary healthcare providers (visited by consumers on average 18 times annually), particularly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Minister Hunt was one of those patients last week, visiting his local community pharmacy in Mt Martha, Victoria, for his annual influenza vaccination.

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