PSA invites pharmacists to become part of COVID-19 vaccination program
Monday 1 February 2021; The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is urging pharmacists to join Australia’s fight against COVID-19 by taking up the Federal Government’s call to assist in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination program to the community.
Community pharmacists will join with other healthcare professionals such as GPs to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the community from Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s COVID strategy.
The PSA is encouraging pharmacists to respond to the Government’s Expression of Interest (EOI) to be trained and equipped to assist in vaccinating Australians against the coronavirus.
Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said the Government was preparing “the necessary and compulsory training which will be required for each and every healthcare professional administering COVID-19 vaccines”.
PSA President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, welcomed the Minister’s announcement, saying community pharmacists were a vital link in delivering the COVID vaccine program to Australians.
“COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives and pharmacists have supported our community on the frontline – I am confident community pharmacists will step up to join Australia’s vaccination workforce, just as they have done throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” A/Prof Freeman said.
“Including pharmacists in the National rollout is in the public interest, to increase public access to vaccines quickly while increasing vaccination rates and pharmacists stand ready, willing, and able to deliver COVID vaccinations to the Australian community.
“At the core of every pharmacist is the innate desire to help the public and participating in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out is yet another way the profession is able to do just that.”
“PSA will be dedicated to supporting pharmacists to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine both safely and effectively to the public.”
Minister Hunt said they were working to ensure there was a suitable workforce “to administer the vaccines in an efficient manner, particularly to our priority groups including residential aged care, residential disability, and carers”, and pharmacists were a vital link in delivering the COVID vaccination program to Australians.
“Australia’s outstanding pharmacists have provided exceptional support for their patients during COVID-19 and will be an important partner in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines,” Minister Hunt said.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for their constructive engagement and contribution to the design of the Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
“Utilising the existing network of thousands of community pharmacies will ensure the general population has broader access to COVID-19 vaccinations, will provide choice in where the community receives a vaccine, and will address barriers to accessing some parts of rural and regional Australia.
“Participation in the program will be voluntary and pharmacies will need to demonstrate that they meet the highest safety standards and have capacity and capability to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, as well as ensuring they can continue to provide important services to their local communities.”
A/Prof Freeman said community pharmacists were a vital cog in the roll out to communities around Australia and PSA would work with its members and the Government to ensure a seamless program delivery for Australians.
The selected pharmacies will have supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, once approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and pharmacists will be provided with vaccine-specific training, access to the Federal Government’s national booking system, and funding for delivering vaccines.
The focus of the EOI is to identify community pharmacists that are willing and able to deliver the AstraZeneca COVID-9 vaccine to Phase 2 priority populations, which include:
- Adults aged 60-69 years;
- Adults aged 50-59 years;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18-54 years;
- Other critical and high risk workers;
- Balance of adult population;
- Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases.
The COVID‑19 vaccine will be administered in the community pharmacy setting by appropriately COVID‑19 vaccine trained, registered pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers under the supervision of an Approved Pharmacist.
To qualify for the Government’s Phase 2 vaccination program, community pharmacies need to:
- Undertake mandatory training designed and provided by the Commonwealth;
- Provide the vaccine to members of the Phase 2 priority population, initially, continuing on to further priority groups sequentially in accordance with Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine national rollout strategy;
- Utilise an appropriately qualified workforce in accordance with jurisdictional requirements to administer the vaccine, which may include nurse practitioners, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers;
- Have the ability to scale-up vaccination workforce and site with potentially short lead times.
- Engage with the National Booking System which is being established to provide a single point of entry to people who require vaccination;
- Meet the requirements as a COVID-19 vaccination site;
- Provide clear and accessible information at the community pharmacy for patients before, during, and after vaccination;
- Enter all vaccinations into the Australian Immunisation Register within an appropriate timeframe; and
- Be responsible for all on-premises clinical governance.