Pharmacists ready to go

Tumut Bush Chemist pharmacist in charge Luke Peacock in the pharmacy’s vaccination room.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) applauds the Berejiklian Government’s announcement that approved community pharmacists in NSW will be activated in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

This week, Premier Berejiklian announced that local pharmacies across the state will be permitted to vaccinate their local communities against Covid-19.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, and NSW Branch President, Chelsea Felkai, welcomed the news.

“This is very good news and is something PSA has been calling on the NSW Government, and all governments to do for quite some time,” A/Prof Freeman said.

“Pharmacists are the most obvious solution to increasing accessibility to vaccinations. Pharmacists are trained, experienced, easily accessible, and close to home for many people.

Pharmacists across NSW are ready to go, therefore, they will be up and running very quickly.  Now we need the rest of the states and territories to follow New South Wales’ lead on this, and once onshore, all Covid-19 vaccines need to be made available through the community pharmacy. All Australians should have the option to go to their local pharmacist for their specifically recommended vaccine because it is so easy and simple to do,” A/Prof Freeman said.

“We have almost 5,000 skilled, trusted and experienced pharmacist vaccinators across NSW. They are very keen to start vaccinating, to support their communities,” Ms Felkai added.

“At a time when we are also encouraging NSW residents to stay local, local pharmacists are the obvious choice.

“Local pharmacists can also target at-risk Australians, particularly the elderly who may be hesitant to commute to or queue at hubs for extended periods of time. Local pharmacists can reduce the rate of “no shows” by making it easier and more convenient to get vaccinated, and can reduce wastage by managing their appointments,” Ms Felkai concluded.

The Federal Government’s indemnity scheme already covers pharmacists administering Covid-19 and PSA is dedicated to supporting pharmacists in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine both safely and effectively to the public, and pharmacists are on standby to support the strategy.

The Bush Chemist Tumut will be one such pharmacy taking part, and pharmacist in charge Luke Peacock has welcomed the news, with some reservations.

“I think it’s a positive, but there’s obviously limitations with it; it’s not the solution to all our problems,” he said.

“By the looks of it, it will only be the Astra Zeneca vaccine, and that’s quite a limited age group, and generally not the ae group we target for vaccines in pharmacies.

“That being said it is going to hopefully free up people trying to get into doctors.

“The more people that are vaccinated the better.”

The Bush Chemist Tumut staff as a ready as they can be to join the vaccination campaign.

“The training package is constantly being updated,” he said.

“Everyone’s done to a certain level; all the staff are completely ready to go.

“We’ve got our vaccination room, we’ve got all our procedures, we’ve got our fridges.”

Mr Peacock said vaccinations at the Bush Chemist would probably begin in the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve been waiting to do it from the get-go,” he said.

“Hopefully in the future there will be availability for a vaccine that everyone can have, and we won’t be restricted in who we can vaccinate. As I have said, the more people that get vaccinated the better. It’s the only way we’re getting out of this thing.”