By Claire Mathews
As of today, 49 community pharmacies across Queensland will start offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to the public, making the state the first in Australia to provide vaccines from chemists to the community.
Rolling out vaccines to local chemists is a crucial way to reach more people and increase vaccination rates. This is because of their accessible nature in both city and regional areas, said Chris Owen, Acting President for the Queensland Branch of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
“Many Queenslanders don’t have easy access to other primary healthcare services or local GP clinics… Community pharmacies are highly accessible, with 97% of consumers in capital cities and 65% in regional areas living within 2.5km of a pharmacy.
“Pharmacies are also the most frequently visited primary healthcare destinations, and staff are well placed for significant interactions with members of the public,” said Mr Owen.
“Given the need to vaccinate as many Queenslanders as quickly as possible and the decentralised nature of our state, we thank the Federal Government for leading the way and ensuring that as frontline primary healthcare professionals, community pharmacies are part of the solution.”
Community chemist staff will undergo specific training prior to administering COVID vaccines to patients, said Mr Owen.
“Anyone administering a COVID-19 vaccine in community pharmacies will undergo training with the Australian College of Nurses on this specific vaccine.”
In the near future, Mr Owen hopes to increase the number of community chemists involved in the vaccination program.
“We look forward to working closely with both Federal and State Governments to quickly increase the number of community pharmacies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to improve patient accessibility.”
For more info on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Queensland Health website.