Questions over expansion of Tasmania’s flu vaccine program

Paul Hayes

20/05/2019 1:41:51 PM

Allowing pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children as young as 10 risks patient safety, according to the RACGP.

Child receiving vaccination
‘This appears to be another attempt by the pharmacy sector to put financial gains over quality patient care and safety,’ Dr Nespolon said of push for pharmacists to administer vaccines to children.

‘It’s quite simple; pharmacists don’t have the medical training required to safely deliver vaccinations and respond to associated risks, such as anaphylaxes,’ RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said.
‘This appears to be another attempt by the pharmacy sector to put financial gains over quality patient care and safety.’
The decision allowing children aged 10 and older to receive a flu vaccination from a pharmacist comes as part of the Tasmanian Government’s long-awaited Winter Demand Management Plan.
‘Previously, pharmacists could only deliver flu shots to Tasmanians aged 18 and over,’ Tasmanian Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said.
Dr Nespolon has called the move ‘baffling’, saying there is no evidence for such a decision.
‘Although this has been a particularly bad flu season, we are unaware of any access issues for this particular patient group in Tasmania, and there is no reason for these patients to visit a pharmacy for this healthcare service,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘All patients, no matter their age, should receive their flu vaccination from their usual GP.
‘Administering a flu vaccination is an invaluable opportunity for a patient to have their overall health assessed. Only GPs can provide this comprehensive and holistic care.’
The first half of 2019 has seen a surge in influenza cases throughout the country. Overall, there have been more than 43,500 lab-confirmed notifications of influenza nationwide – compared with 58,848 for all of 2018.
Dr Nespolon said offering ad-hoc health services without any connection to a patient’s general practice – such as extending pharmacists’ administration of vaccinations to young children – serves to fragment care.
‘The Tasmanian Government should be further supporting patients to see their GP, rather than fragmenting their healthcare,’ he said.
‘I call on the Tasmanian Government to reconsider its decision, before any patient suffers the potential negative effects of this decision.’

flu vaccines pharmacy Tasmania Winter Demand Management Plan


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Dr Arshad Merchant   21/05/2019 6:13:22 AM

Since when flu vaccination becomes so easy, it is an opportunity to talk about other aspect in life than just a flu, an asthmatic to make sure he is aware of his management plan, a child who could voice bullying at school, an elderly not looking after himself or not getting support or abuse at risk, a wife concern with family or a mother worried about kids going through teens, grandparents making comments that give you clues to look after the family, a young lady worrying about her parents as she now moved out etc etc... I can't remember when I have seen a person just for a needle

Vinh   21/05/2019 7:18:57 AM

Entirely supported. We should be leading the way in providing an integrated comprehensive service. Pharmacists should be supporting us rather than putting their interests first. I wonder how they would react if we started dispensing medications? We certainly have access issue when our practice opens long hours and they are closed.

Kate   21/05/2019 1:33:16 PM

I have some concern about vaccination by pharmacists, having had a number of disgruntled patients in their 70s telling me recently they paid $20 to have a flu vaccination administered at the pharmacy in early April, only to be told after the injection 'maybe you should see your GP later in the season to have the one specifically for over 65s as well, to make sure your immunity lasts long enough'. What is going on here??