Additional remuneration for boosters welcomed – but unfair pay disparity remains.
Wednesday 22nd December 2021
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement this afternoon that payments for booster vaccinations will be increased.
From tomorrow, 23rd December, pharmacists will receive an additional $10 for administering booster vaccinations, taking the total fee for the full service to $26.
PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, lauded the announcement.
“This is a very welcome announcement for pharmacists who are working incredibly hard in the lead up to Christmas, ensuring their communities have timely access to booster vaccinations in addition to their usual holiday workloads.
“PSA has been fighting over recent months to secure additional funding for the booster program, to ensure these services do not run at a loss, and we thank the Morrison Government for finally taking action on this prior to Christmas and the New Year.
“Frustration amongst the pharmacist community has reached boiling point over recent weeks, with many pharmacies considering whether it is viable for them to continue to participate in the National Booster Program – potentially jeopardising the program’s delivery.
“Whilst we expect the increase to incentivise involvement in the National Booster Program, it is not enough. The unfair disparity in rates of remuneration for community pharmacies versus other vaccination providers still remains. PSA will continue to fight for fair and equitable remuneration in all settings in which pharmacists practice.
“Pharmacists have more than doubled the number of daily vaccine doses being administered since booster eligibility was shortened, with 284,559 doses administered in just the past 7 days. This is an astonishing effort.
A/Prof Freeman went on to discuss the management of the booster program over the next few months.
“It has been an incredibly challenging period for pharmacists, who are experiencing a surge in demand for COVID-19 vaccinations. This has been driven by the decision to bring forward booster doses for millions of Australians. Whilst Australia has plentiful stores of COVID-19 vaccines, there is often a delay between ordering the vaccines until they arrive into pharmacy fridges.
“Similarly, we have seen a surge in demand for items such as rapid antigen tests, as many consumers are wanting to take precautions before attending work or catching up with family and friends over the holidays.
“As the 2021 working year comes to an end for most, it is the busiest time of year for Australian pharmacists. Over this period, many pharmacies will remain open, ensuring that communities can continue to access essential medicines and health services.
“I echo the Prime Minister’s advice this afternoon, that we must remain calm. I ask that patients be mindful of, and respectful towards your pharmacist, as they work to provide you with care, essential medicines and health services you need.
“I also ask Australians to continue abiding by the current health advice, ensuring that you do not enter pharmacies if you have potential symptoms of COVID-19, wear protective masks inside and practice social distancing,” he said.
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463