Com­mu­nity in­jec­tion

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - NEWS -

COM­MU­NITY phar­ma­cies are play­ing a big­ger role in the flu vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram to boost im­mu­ni­sa­tion rates among the vul­ner­a­ble be­fore the peak sea­son ar­rives in Au­gust.

About 400 phar­ma­cies are part of a two-year trial for peo­ple aged over 65 to ac­cess the quadri­va­lent vac­cine at a phar­macy.

Phar­macy Guild WA act­ing pres­i­dent An­drew Ngeow said last year the age group had only 60 per cent cov­er­age for flu vac­ci­na­tions through the Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Pro­gram (NIP).

“Com­mu­nity phar­ma­cies see about 130,000 mem­bers of the pub­lic on a daily ba­sis and hence has the reach to in­crease ac­cess. We can do this safely at lit­tle cost to the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“Af­ter such a bad flu sea­son na­tion­ally last year and with a high level of pub­lic­ity about the need for vac­ci­na­tion, the up­take of vac­ci­na­tion ad­min­is­tered by phar­ma­cists in WA has been rapid.”

He said the in­crease in flu aware­ness had put pres­sure on sup­plies, but more vac­cines were ex­pected in mid-July.

“We have been ad­vised by the De­part­ment of Health that com­mu­nity phar­macy will be pro­vided with ad­di­tional quadri­va­lent vac­cine on the NIP for use with 65-plus aged pa­tients,” he said.

“So far there have been around 1200 lab­o­ra­tory-con­firmed cases of flu in WA this year, com­pared with 6000 cases in the full year 2017.”

He said it was not too late to have a flu vac­ci­na­tion to raise the level of im­mu­nity across the com­mu­nity.

“We will con­tinue to pro­vide immu- ni­sa­tion ser­vices for adults 18-plus as long as stock is avail­able,” he said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis d483868

Phar­ma­cist Me­gan Chong from Am­cal Phar­macy Mun­dar­ing giv­ing Joan Doyle, of Stoneville, the flu vac­cine.

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