The following advice has been provided by the Australian Government Department of Health on 3rd March 2021.
Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications and is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated).
Seasonal influenza vaccines funded through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people most at risk will be available in April, subject to local supply arrangements. NIP vaccines will be available in April, subject to local supply arrangements.
6 to 35 months|
|=>3 to <5 years||✓||✓||✓||✓||X||X||X|
|=>5 to <9 years||✓+||✓+||✓||✓||✓+||X||X|
|=>9 to <65 years||✓+||✓+||✓||✓||✓+||✓||X|
+ NIP funding only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and people who have certain medical conditions.
Shaded boxes indicate that vaccine is funded under the NIP for eligible people.
In 2021, the eligibility to receive the influenza vaccine through the NIP remains the same as that of 2020. NIP funded influenza vaccines are available to the following groups:
Ideally, people should receive their annual influenza vaccination before the start of the influenza season. The influenza season usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia. However, the seasonal pattern of influenza was different in 2020 due to a number of factors, and it is not possible to predict what the 2021 influenza season will be like. Optimal protection against influenza occurs within the first three to four months following vaccination. Timing of vaccination should aim to achieve the highest level of protection during peak influenza season. Influenza vaccination can continue to be offered as long as influenza virus is circulating and a valid vaccine (before expiration date) is available.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advises that COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with an influenza vaccine if required. Trials have demonstrated that co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccine raises no safety concerns and preserves the immune response to both vaccines. Co-administration can results in a higher frequency of mild to moderate adverse events and can make it harder to attribute potential adverse events to specific vaccines. It is important to advise your patient that it is more likely that they may experience common adverse effects and to report any adverse events.
The vaccination legislation and regulation for vaccination in community pharmacy differs for each state and territory including the types of vaccines that can be administer, who is authorised to administer vaccines and the minimum age for patients receiving a vaccine.
The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccinations given to people of all ages in Australia.
It is mandatory for all vaccination providers to report immunisations to the AIR.
The Guild has developed a range of flu vaccination resources for use in promoting your in-pharmacy service, which include posters, suggested social media posts, downloadable handouts, templates and forms.
The Guild is able to deliver training in every state and territory to become a qualified pharmacist immuniser.
Visit GuildED for training modules that provide pharmacists with practical advice and new information relating to vaccinations and vaccination services.
Further information is available from your State Branch.
Since well before the publication of the Community Pharmacy Roadmap in May 2010 the Guild has been actively working on expanding pharmacists professional activities in the delivery of services to improve the health outcomes of all Australians. The Guild has always seen pharmacist vaccination as an opportunity for innovation in community pharmacy health service delivery.
On 5 December 2013, the Pharmacy Board of Australia announced that vaccination was within the current scope of practice of pharmacists. This statement followed work undertaken on its behalf by the then Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework Steering Committee and with consultation with the Guild.
The Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot (QPIP) Phase 1 operated from 1 April 2014 to 30 September 2014 in 80 pharmacies and saw 10,889 influenza vaccines delivered, demonstrating that community pharmacy is well placed to improve vaccination rates. Almost one in five people vaccinated in the QPIP Phase 1 trial had indicated that they would not otherwise have been vaccinated and one in seven said it was the first time they had been vaccinated for influenza. The QPIP Phase 2 trial operated from March 2015 to April 2016 and was expanded to include measles and pertussis in 200 pharmacies.
Since early 2015, appropriately trained pharmacists in South Australia and Western Australia have been administering approved vaccines. Since 2016, appropriately trained pharmacists in Tasmania, ACT, NSW, QLD and Victoria can administer approved vaccines