A landmark day in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout: PSA welcomes announcement that community pharmacists will commence vaccinating within weeks in rural and remote Queensland
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes this morning’s announcement that up to 56 rural and remote community pharmacies in Queensland will shortly join the COVID-19 vaccine roll and start administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Australians.
In a joint announcement this morning, the Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt and Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services the Hon. Yvette D’Ath revealed community pharmacies in rural and remote Queensland who were successful in the recent EOI process would be activated to administer AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine within weeks.
PSA’s National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman said the announcement will be a turning point in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
“Today is a landmark day in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy. Community pharmacists have been waiting to join the vaccine campaign, and it is great to see Queensland pharmacists in these 56 regional pharmacies be the first to answer the call to protect their community.”
“This adds to the pharmacists in hospitals, general practice, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) who have already been involved in the COVID19 vaccine rollout.”
In welcoming the announcement, PSA called on governments around Australia to fast-track bringing community pharmacies on board to improve accessibility to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Given their accessibility and convenience, community pharmacies are ideal vaccination sites. Sixty five percent of Australians in rural Australia live within two kilometres of a community pharmacy, so geographically, it is easier for Australians to find their local pharmacy.”
With a greater supply of COVID-19 vaccines now available, A/Prof Freeman said now is the time to ramp up the rollout through community pharmacies.
“We have two excellent vaccines available which are safe and highly effective at preventing severe diseases, including hospitalisation and death. Now is the time for all eligible Australians to seek vaccination. Pharmacists around the country are vaccine champions and we are ready to play our part by joining the primary care rollout, ultimately protecting Australians against this terrible disease.”
The Federal Health Minister signalled more community pharmacies would join the campaign as greater supply becomes available in the coming months.
“Now is the time for other jurisdictions to sign up to community pharmacist administered COVID19 vaccinations. PSA is dedicated to supporting pharmacists in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine both safely and effectively to the public, and pharmacists around the country remain ready and on standby to support the strategy”, A/Prof Freeman said.
“With overseas regulatory agencies now confident the Pfizer vaccine is stable at normal refrigerated cold chain temperatures for up to 30 days, subject to local regulatory approval, it may be feasible for community pharmacists to also administer the Pfizer vaccine later this year in Phase 2b and beyond.”
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463