The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the South Australian Government’s moves to improve access to government-funded influenza vaccines.
The Marshall Government has established an expert advisory group to assess the expansion of National Immunisation Program (NIP) flu vaccines for those aged over 65 years through community pharmacies.
PSA SA President, Robyn Johns, said that creating more opportunities for pharmacists will improve the health and wellness of South Australians.
“We are delighted that the Marshall Government has established the Community Pharmacy NIP Access Advisory Group and PSA has long advocated for national uniformity in allowing authorised pharmacist immunisers to access NIP-funded vaccines.”
“Allowing community pharmacist immunisers to provide NIP influenza vaccines will increase vaccination rates and herd immunity to influenza within the state, preventing death and hospitalisations in those aged over 65 years.”
“As it stands, community pharmacies cannot provide their patients with NIP-funded flu vaccines, and for people over the age of 65, NIP is the only way to access the best influenza vaccine for this population.”
“This is an incredibly frustrating experience for both patients and pharmacists and we are glad to see that the Marshall Government is taking a step in the right direction.”
“NIP-funded influenza vaccines can be administered by authorised pharmacists in the ACT, Victoria and Western Australia under certain conditions, with NSW the latest jurisdiction to approve this from the 2022 influenza season – it is also backed by the Tasmanian Government.”
“When it comes to government-funded vaccines, pharmacists are well aware of their obligation to inform and refer people who are eligible to a NIP provider, most often a GP, this includes those aged 65 years and over.”
“Pharmacists are a critical part of the vaccination workforce. It is time to align the funding and regulation of pharmacist-administered vaccinations with that of all other authorised immunisers.” Ms Johns said.
PSA will continue to work closely with the South Australian Government to improve accessibility to the seasonal influenza vaccine, ultimately improving access to vulnerable Australians.
PSA calls for all NIP-eligible patients with serious health conditions to be able to access NIP vaccines through community pharmacies.