West Australians will be able to get vaccinated against illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and meningococcal disease at their local pharmacy from 1 August 2019 following changes made by the State Government.
Nationals spokesperson for health Martin Aldridge welcomed the move and recognised the important healthcare contribution community pharmacies make to regional communities.
“The role pharmacists and pharmacies can play in regional and remote communities is currently being underutilised. This is especially apparent in communities with limited healthcare or those currently grappling with attracting and retaining a GP,” Mr Aldridge said.
“I recently moved a motion to be debated at our upcoming State Conference recognising the importance of community pharmacies in regional Western Australia and their positive contribution to our health and wellbeing.”
Under changes approved by the Department of Health, pharmacists will be able to administer additional low-risk vaccines to people over the age of 16. New vaccines that pharmacists will be able to administer are measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough) and meningococcal ACWY.
All vaccinations provided will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.
Recommendation 10 of the Community Pharmacy Ownership Review Final Report released in March 2019 stated: “Western Australia allow additional access to immunisation via pharmacies that is at least consistent with that already permitted in other States and Territories.”
The report also found that community pharmacies are seen as a valuable health network and resource, however, pharmacists do not always feel they are utilising all of their skills.
In June this year the State Government announced WA pharmacists could offer influenza vaccination for children over 10 years old. Pharmacists have been safely issuing the influenza vaccine to adults since 2015 and more West Australians are being vaccinated against influenza than ever before.
“I encourage the State Government to consider other ways in which community pharmacies can make a positive contribution to our healthcare consistent with the report of the Department of Health,” Mr Aldridge said.
“It is important that we make the most of the services that we have in regional communities. As country people know access to quality healthcare can be sporadic and at times inconsistent.” Attached photo: Martin receiving his annual flu vaccination thanks to Craig his local Pharmacist at Bindoon Pharmacy.