More than 70 Community Pharmacies in Queensland invited to give National Immunisation Program flu vaccines to over-65s
Just in time for flu season, a Queensland Community Pharmacy National Immunisation Program (NIP) Pilot has been announced that will see more than 70 community pharmacies across Queensland invited to participate in this Queensland-first Pilot and give National Immunisation Program (NIP) funded influenza vaccines to Queenslanders over the age of 65.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch President, Mr. Chris Owen, said the Pilot, announced today by Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, means more Queenslanders will have equitable access to influenza vaccines across the state.
“We’re just coming into flu season and this announcement could not have come at a better time,” said Mr. Owen.
“Supporting all community pharmacies to provide all eligible Queenslanders with access to NIP funded vaccinations is a logical next step,” said Mr. Owen, “The Queensland Government deserves to be commended for rolling out this Pilot.”
“This Pilot will mean better access to affordable influenza vaccines* for patients aged 65 and over who live in regional areas of Queensland who may not be able to access a GP or other NIP vaccine provider.”
“Community pharmacies servicing Warwick, Kingaroy, Ayr, Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Pialba, Mareeba, Ingham and other regional areas have been invited to participate.”
“There are many communities in Queensland that do not have GP clinics or hospitals but do have access to a community pharmacy.”
“67% of people who live in regional areas are typically within 2.5km of their local community pharmacy,” said Mr. Owen, “Being able to access their influenza vaccination locally through the NIP is vital.”
“To be eligible for this Pilot, selected community pharmacies had to be already involved in the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out and be located in a regional area where more than 20% of the population is aged 65 and above.”
Mr. Owen said this Pilot was an essential step on the pathway of community pharmacists being able to deliver their full scope of practice in the community through the North Queensland Community Pharmacy Full Scope of Practice Pilot.
“Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, community pharmacy has been on the frontline in providing primary health care to our communities,” said Mr. Owen.
“Community pharmacists are capable, accessible and well-equipped primary health care providers who want to better support patients.”
“While it is vital to allow access to NIP funded vaccines in community pharmacies within some rural and remote areas of the state, every eligible Queenslander should have access to NIP funded vaccinations at a location that is convenient and accessible, just as it was with the COVID-19 vaccination program,” said Mr. Owen.
“One of the key lessons from the pandemic is the more accessible a vaccine is, the higher the uptake will be and the higher the uptake, the more successful we will be in suppressing the virus,” Mr. Owen said.