National access to vaccines must be a priority

30 November 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is again calling for vaccines to be made accessible to more Australians by fully utilising pharmacists as part of the immunisation workforce, following a new report from Australian think tank Grattan Institute.

The Grattan Institute report A fair shot: How to close the vaccination gap specifically recommends action on a National Vaccines Partnership Agreement and harmonisation of the state-based regulations that determine pharmacists’ authority to deliver certain vaccines.

The report also calls for new funding for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to support general practice, pharmacists, and aged care providers to promote vaccination in mainstream primary care.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS welcomes the Grattan Institute’s recommendations, which echo PSA’s calls for nationally consistent vaccination authorities.

“The Grattan Institute’s report is a stark look at how far we still have to go to make vaccination equitable for all Australians,” Dr Sim says.

“We know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving vaccine uptake, with the report rightly highlighting the need for a tailored approach to ensuring vulnerable cohorts don’t fall through the cracks.

“The Federal Government’s move to open up National Immunisation Program funding for pharmacist-administered vaccines is a welcome first step, but there is more work to be done to allow pharmacists to deliver all vaccines to patients of all ages.

“At the moment, every jurisdiction in Australia has different regulations around which vaccinations can be administered by pharmacists.

“A nationally consistent schedule of pharmacist-administered vaccines is key to achieve equitable access to government-funded vaccines by all Australians.

“Pharmacists can and should be utilised as trusted health care professionals, working hand in glove with the rest of the primary care team to break down the barriers to vaccination, from improving equity and access, to amplifying public health messages.

“Our health system needs all immunisers to play a role in delivering vaccines wherever there is a patient need, whether a GP, nurse practitioner or pharmacist,” Dr Sim concluded.

The Grattan Institute’s A fair shot: How to close the vaccination gap report is available here.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au