Time to remove NIP influenza barriers in QLD
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Queensland Branch calls for expanded access to National Immunisation Program (NIP) seasonal influenza vaccines through community pharmacy.
At present, those over the age of 65 are not able to access the ATAGI-preferred influenza vaccine from their local pharmacy, as it has only been available through General Practice in recent years.
PSA Queensland Branch President, Shane MacDonald, said that creating more opportunities for patients to access immunisations from pharmacists will improve the health and wellness of Queenslanders.
“As we prepare for 2022, allowing community pharmacist immunisers to provide NIP-funded influenza vaccines will increase vaccination rates and herd immunity to influenza within the state, preventing death and hospitalisations in those aged over 65 years.
“As we have seen since pharmacists started providing influenza vaccines, immunisation rates have risen in the adult population overall.
“Currently, over 20 percent of this age group is not vaccinated against influenza. We expect that expanding access to vaccinations will see a 10-20 percent increase in coverage for the over 65 population.
“As we have seen during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, pharmacists are a critical part of the vaccination workforce. It is time to align the funding and regulation of pharmacist-administered vaccinations with that of all other authorised immunisers,” Mr MacDonald said.
PSA will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government to improve accessibility to the seasonal influenza vaccine, ultimately improving access for vulnerable Australians.
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463