Follows record flu season in state.
South Australian Minister for Health Jack Snelling has confirmed pharmacists in the state will be able to directly administer influenza vaccinations from this year onwards.
The Minister said the change came following the Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot’s success, which has seen more than 10,000 vaccinations performed (PD 02 Jun 14) as well as a second phase of immunisation plus an extension to include pharmacist-delivered vaccinations for measles and whooping cough for adults (PD 14 Aug 14).
The move also follows a record flu season for South Australia, with 11,042 cases reported last year, surpassing the previous record in 2009 of 10,776 cases (PD 07 Jan).
Flu shots in pharmacies had previously had to be provided by a registered nurse, the Minister’s office said.
Pharmacists wishing to administer flu vaccines would be required to undergo appropriate training, including recognition and treatment of possible side effects, it said.
The pharmacy would also need to be accredited by SA Health and undergo an audit every two years as per pharmacy industry standards, the Minister’s office said.
Under the changes, pharmacists would be able to provide the vaccine to adults over 16 who were not already eligible for a free flu shot as part of the National Immunisation Program; people who were eligible for a free flu shot would need to visit their GP, the Minister’s office said.
The SA government’s decision follows the Western Australian government’s change of regulations to allow pharmacists to provide influenza vaccinations without a prescription (PD 18 Dec 14).
Snelling said allowing pharmacists to directly administer the flu shot would encourage a greater uptake of the vaccine in 2015, with the flu vaccine expected to become available at the end of March.
For more, see tomorrow’s Pharmacy Daily.