Community pharmacists supporting smoke-affected Canberrans

As Canberra’s air quality is set to deteriorate again tonight, Canberrans most vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality due to the bushfire smoke blanketing the ACT can attend their local pharmacist for advice and to access one of the 100,000 Commonwealth Government supplied P2 masks delivered to every community pharmacy across the Territory this week.
“Around the country, pharmacists have rallied in support of their communities and are doing what they can to help as bushfires devastate so many parts of Australia,” Pharmaceutical Society of Australia ACT Vice President, Professor Mark Naunton said.
“In the ACT this week, pharmacists have stepped up to coordinate and provide access to protective masks for Canberrans most sensitive to smoke, such as those over 65, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.”
Yesterday the Commonwealth Government delivered 100,000 P2 masks to the nation’s capital and staff from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia joined forces to work with ACT Health to get them to community pharmacies as their final destination.
Simon Blacker, ACT President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia reflected; “What I saw when I was delivering masks for vulnerable people to ACT community pharmacies was a mixture of joy and relief that masks were arriving that would allow the pharmacy to be able to help their local communities and their local patients. The teams of pharmacists and staff were excited to be empowered to help, and this is a common trait of all community pharmacies and those that work within them.”
“As we travelled around the city and visited each of Canberra’s 80 pharmacies was a network of community pharmacists eager to help out and play a part in keeping Canberrans safe from the harmful effects of pollution,” Prof. Naunton said. “This is another example of the important role pharmacists play in responding to public health issues and natural disasters.”
“By the time the task was completed yesterday afternoon, we believe about one-third of masks had already been provided free of charge to members of our community, showing how urgent the need in Canberra was,” Mr Blacker said.
Mr Blacker urged Canberrans to contact their local pharmacy for any queries regarding availability; “Access to this supply of masks is being prioritised for Canberrans whose health is at risk due to smoke. Anyone who falls in this category is encouraged to visit their local pharmacy. If your local pharmacy has run out, another nearby is likely to have some available.”


  • The community are reminded that up to date health advice and further information on how to use a P2/N95 mask properly is on the ACT Health website (www.health.act.gov.au).
  • The community are also reminded that use of masks is also not an alternative to avoiding exposure to the smoke outdoors.
  • The best way to protect yourself and your family is to stay indoors (with windows and doors closed) when heavy smoke is around.

Media contact
PSA Media, 0487 922 176
Pharmacy Guild of Australia (ACT Branch), Simon Blacker 0418 477 168

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