Date: 11 August 2021
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, has praised community pharmacies and their staff for staying open during the COVID crisis.
“You provided health services. All of you stayed open,” he said.
“I know there were periods last year when there was inappropriate behaviour towards pharmacists and pharmacy workers, and I apologise for that, but I thank you for what you’ve done.”
He went on to say: “You’ve saved lives. You’ve been on the frontline. You’ve done a great job.”
But Mr Hunt also warned that the pre-COVID business as usual was a long way off and he predicted “we will be dealing with this issue for the coming decade”.
Mr Hunt appeared as a special guest on the Guild’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out webinar where he explained there would most likely be a COVID-19 vaccine booster program, although this had yet to be formalised.
But any such program would utilise the primary health network, including pharmacies, on an ongoing basis.
Mr Hunt also said pharmacies needed to be confident they could access more supplies of COVID-19 vaccines if they needed them.
He stressed that pharmacy vaccine deliveries were not capped and if a pharmacy found it needed more, they just needed to order it.
Another area he addressed was the importance of the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
“Uploading data to the Australian Immunisation Register is a legal requirement and it’s a critical element of participating in the program,” he said.
It also helped to track uptake and any possible adverse events.
Mr Hunt reassured pharmacists that supplies of protective personal equipment were available for pharmacies and pharmacy staff.
“Any issues with that Trent [Twomey, Guild National President] will let my office know and we’ll try to short circuit it.”
Contact: The Guild