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Friday, December 1, 2023

Good news for older Tasmanians as improved access to influenza vaccines announced

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) Tasmanian branch welcomes the State Government’s announcement that influenza vaccines funded through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) will become available through local pharmacies.

The Government has announced that pharmacists will be allowed to access and administer NIP-funded influenza vaccines for Tasmanians over 65 years.

Previously, pharmacies were restricted to providing privately funded influenza vaccines. 

This brings Tasmania in line with other jurisdictions like Victoria, the ACT, WA and NSW.

PSA Tasmanian branch president, David Peachey, welcomed the announcement, saying that allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines will improve access for vulnerable Tasmanians.

“Tasmanian pharmacists have been vaccinating against influenza for many years, and more recently, have made a significant contribution to the COVID-19 vaccination rollout across our state,” Peachey said.

“It is great to see the Tasmanian Government now recognise the greater role pharmacists can play in protecting our community against influenza.”

Peachey said while this announcement is a step in the right direction, pharmacists should be able to administer all NIP-funded vaccines, and all other vaccines (with the exception of a select few specialised vaccines).

“Less than half of at-risk Tasmanian adults are fully vaccinated,” he said.

“This includes healthcare workers and those caring for our most vulnerable people in Tasmania.

“Access to funded vaccines is one of the main barriers to uptake of vaccinations.

“Enabling Tasmanians to access NIP vaccines through pharmacy would improve access to and uptake of NIP vaccines and reduce the burden on the healthcare system from vaccine-preventable disease,” Peachey said.

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