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QLD community pharmacists to administer flu shots to over 16 year olds

Community pharmacists will be able to provide even more support to Queensland’s health system by administering flu vaccinations to patients over the age of 16, the Pharmacy Guild said today.

Professor Trent Twomey, Queensland Branch President of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, welcomed the government’s decision which arose from the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into community pharmacy last year.

He said the announcement would mean better health care options for Queenslanders as community pharmacies were highly accessible in terms of their opening hours and locations.

“This week, we have seen the strain on emergency departments throughout Queensland with unprecedented diagnoses and admissions of influenza.

“While there are people at high risk of the flu, including those aged 65 and above, the flu can in fact strike anyone, even the young, fit and healthy. In fact, one-in-four people who are hospitalised with the flu have no underlying medical condition.1

“We must build ‘community immunity’ against the flu through vaccination, which helps to not only protect ourselves but also our loved ones.

“This simple step will allow more Queenslanders, and especially young people, to have better protection against the most commonly circulating viral strains predicted for this year’s flu season,” Professor Twomey said.

Professor Twomey said there had always been strong support for pharmacists to be the first port of call for minor ailments based on the trust in which pharmacists are held, and on their professional and ethical standards.

“I encourage the Queensland Government to follow the lead of other jurisdictions and immediately make the National Immunisation Program (NIP) available to community pharmacies.

“This will ensure even more accessibility and protection to Queenslanders against this year’s influenza strains and ease the pressure we are seeing on emergency departments.

“The Guild looks forward to working with all Queensland MPs to provide the best care for all Queenslanders by supporting a community pharmacy network that continues to put patients first,” Professor Twomey said.


References

1. Australian Government Department of Health. Influenza epidemiology in patients admitted to sentinel Australian hosptials in 2016: the influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN). 2018; Available from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdi4104-d.

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