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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Pharmacists say they’re ready, willing and able to aid spluttering COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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Pharmacists are the most obvious solution to getting Australian’s vaccinated as quickly and conveniently as possible, according to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

PSA national president, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, is dismayed that pharmacist involvement in the rollout is still very limited.

“Pharmacists are the most obvious solution to increasing accessibility to vaccinations,” he said.

“Local pharmacists can target at-risk Australians, particularly the elderly, who may be hesitant to commute to or queue at these hubs for extended periods of time.”

Freeman said local pharmacists can also reduce the rate of “no shows” by making it easier and more convenient to get vaccinated, and can reduce wastage by managing their appointments.

“Pharmacists are already vaccinating against COVID-19 in GP clinics, hubs, and remote and rural pharmacies, and have been administering influenza and other vaccines for many years,” he said.

“We already have a skilled, trusted, experienced, and easily accessible vaccinator workforce at governments’ disposal.

“And we already have established vaccination clinics in our shopping centres – the community pharmacy!

Local pharmacists, Freeman said, should be activated to alleviate pressure on vaccination hubs and to make it as easy and convenient as possible for Australians to get vaccinated.

“Of Australia’s 5800 pharmacies, only 65 pharmacies have actually been activated so far, with a further 300 to be activated by the end of July.

“This represents only 5 per cent of pharmacies.

“In addition, the Federal Government’s indemnity scheme already covers pharmacists – they have been fully trained for months and are sick of being sidelined,” Freeman said.

Freeman added that involving local pharmacists will encourage at-risk Australians to come forward and get vaccinated.

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