Pharmacists Gain Vaccination Authority in Australia

Australian pharmacists are empowered to deliver dTap, MMR and flu shots

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At the beginning of 2019, pharmacists located in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, were empowered to deliver expanded vaccination services. 

Anyone over 16 years of age in NSW can now get vaccinated against Whooping Cough and Measles viruses when visiting a local pharmacy. 

Pharmacists are now able to administer privately funded diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (dTap) and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, in addition to various influenza vaccines. 

Australia’s first pharmacist-administered vaccine trial began in 2014. Since then, pharmacist immunization programs have begun in every state, and are now essential to public and preventative health in Australia.   

During October 2018, the NSW government announced expanded pharmacist authorizations, following Victoria, Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australia. 

The government said in a statement that ‘Grandparents and carers of young children and partners of pregnant women will also benefit from having access to the whooping cough vaccine before having contact with a newborn infant.’ 

Additionally, this expansion ‘may increase vaccine uptake particularly in those about to embark on overseas travel to a country where measles outbreaks are common.’ 

This authorization change is related to a 2018 research study that revealed a majority of Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer common vaccinations. 

This nationwide poll conducted by YouGov Galaxy found 64 percent of Australians support these expanded pharmacist vaccinations, with 62 percent citing convenience as a benefit.   

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said in a statement, “People will now have more choice when it comes to vaccination, and whether you live in regional NSW or the city, that’s a good thing.” 

PSA NSW President Professor Peter Carroll said: “Allowing accredited pharmacists to vaccinate will increase vaccination rates and herd immunity protection within the community.”   

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“I congratulate the NSW Government on this initiative which will without doubt increase vaccination rates and help to protect the people of NSW from these preventable diseases.” 

Pharmacy Guild of Australia (NSW) President David Heffernan also welcomed the decision, “I would like to acknowledge the incredible bi-partisan support regarding this initiative.”   

To alert Americans planning to visit Australia, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its travel vaccination suggestions during April 2018.

The CDC says visitors to Australia should make sure they are up-to-date on routine vaccinations, such as diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, polio, and an annual flu shot. 

Moreover, certain visitors to Australia may need hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations. 

And, the CDC offers a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip to Australia.   

In the USA, these vaccines and others are available at certified travel vaccination pharmacies and clinics. 

Pre-departure vaccination counseling appointments can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And, vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.