The announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Government’s decision to allow almost 4,000 community pharmacies across the country to join the Covid vaccination rollout has been welcomed as a “significant step in improving vaccination rates”.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Professor Trent Twomey, said this would see thousands of community pharmacies delivering vaccinations where they are most needed.
“These pharmacies have undergone all the training and meet all the necessary criteria to provide this service for patients,” Twomey said.
“To date a handful of pharmacies in regional, rural and remote areas have been able to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to patients.
Community pharmacies are highly accessible to the public
“But [the] announcement means patients across all of Australia will soon be able to access their vaccinations through their community pharmacy, which is the most accessible health destination and often provides extended operating hours and access at weekends.
“These pharmacies are fully indemnified by the Government and informed consent protocols will be followed for patients.”
In his announcement, the Prime Minister said it was expected the pharmacies would be ready to begin administering the vaccinations in two weeks, with some in Sydney hotspots onboarded from next week.
According to Twomey, including all eligible community pharmacies in the national strategy will have a marked impact on increasing the rate of vaccination delivery to communities.
Overseas experience shows how effective this strategy is
“Modelling by the Guild shows that bringing these pharmacies on board will speed up the rollout by several months, [which] is great news for,” he said.
“We know through international experience just how effective using community pharmacies in the rollout is.
“You only have to look at the United States, where 99-million of the total 388-million vaccinations have been administered by pharmacists. In Alberta, Canada, pharmacists have administered more than 42 percent of the province’s vaccinations in four months.
“I congratulate the Government on this very pragmatic decision and the Guild looks forward to continuing its work with governments across all jurisdictions to help achieve maximum vaccination rates,” Twomey said.