Labor Candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen said today that allowing trained pharmacists to administer flu vaccines was a visionary idea that would boost local vaccination rates and general community health in the inner west.
Under the policy healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 would be able to obtain a flu vaccine at the local pharmacist for a standard charge.
Jo Haylen said participating pharmacists in the inner west would be required to complete a two-day training course accredited by NSW Health. They would also need appropriate professional indemnity insurance and a private consultation area on their premises.
Labor’s policy will complement the free flu vaccines that already exist under the National Immunisation Program and are provided by GPs to high-risk groups including all people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 and older.
Clr Hayen said: “Everybody knows their local pharmacist. They are highly skilled and trusted professionals. Allowing Trained pharmacists to offer safe and more convenient vaccinations will help us achieve higher vaccination rates and a healthier community.
“This is a sensible new approach to improve vaccination rates. It is based on research and sound science.
“And it’s a much smarter way to reduce unnecessary doctor visits than the Tony Abbott GP tax.”
Jo Haylen added that Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia allow varying dispensing rights to pharmacists. Several other countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the United States allow pharmacists to provide vaccinations.
Overseas studies have shown that pharmacy-administered vaccines are especially effective in targeting young and middle-aged men. A Queensland trial found that one-in-four people immunised at pharmacies are walk-ins who had not planned on getting a vaccination.
In December 2013, the Pharmacy Board of Australia affirmed the administration of vaccines to be within the scope of pharmacy practice. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has also developed practice guidelines.
Last year, NSW Health reported 15,700 cases of influenza strain A and 2,500 cases of influenza strain B.
Jo Haylen also said that Labor in Government would examine extending pharmacist-delivered vaccines to adult measles and whooping cough.