Protect yourself against influenza, warn pharmacists
12 April 2023
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is calling on New South Wales residents to head to their local pharmacy for their influenza vaccine ahead of what is expected to be a significant season for the virus. Further, PSA is renewing its calls on the New South Wales Government to fund accessible vaccinations through pharmacists for our most vulnerable groups.
Pharmacists are established advocates of vaccination and play a vital role in promoting and supporting vaccination uptake, having administered nearly 10 million COVID-19 vaccines over the past three years.
PSA NSW Immediate Past President and pharmacist immuniser Professor Peter Carroll urged all New South Wales residents to get their influenza vaccine.
“Community pharmacists, through a well-established network of community pharmacies with extended operating hours, provide an accessible and convenient location to get vaccinated, and all patients 5 years old and over can get their influenza vaccine from their local pharmacist.”
“As pharmacists we especially encourage those eligible for the National Immunnisation Program to get their influenza vaccine as soon as possible to prevent the higher risk of severe illness from the influenza virus.”
Pharmacists can access NIP vaccines for eligible patients, including people over 65 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and those with existing health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease.
While eligible patients can currently access NIP influenza vaccines from community pharmacists at no cost, pharmacist vaccinators are not funded to administer these NIP vaccines.
This means that influenza vaccination is not free for vulnerable patients when administered in a community pharmacy, as patients may be charged a service fee to pay pharmacists for assessing patient suitability and administering the vaccine.
Professor Carroll echoed PSA’s urgent calls for the NSW Government to fund pharmacist-administered NIP influenza vaccines.
“This is about ensuring influenza vaccinations are accessible to those who need them the most,” Professor Carroll said.
“Funding pharmacist administration of NIP influenza vaccines will give NSW residents greater access, especially those in areas experiencing GP shortages and long wait times for GP appointments.
“PSA has called on the NSW Government for some time to fund pharmacists to support vaccine uptake, and now the new Minns Government has the chance to demonstrate their commitment to a healthy population,” Professor Carroll concluded.
Media contact: Georgia Clarke M: 0410 505 315 E: firstname.lastname@example.org