The following advice has been provided by the Australian Government Department of Health on 2nd March 2020.
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).
To meet the anticipated demand for seasonal influenza vaccines in 2020, the Australian Government will be securing the largest supply of seasonal influenza vaccines ever through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people most at risk. NIP vaccines will be available in April, subject to local supply arrangements.
In 2020, influenza vaccines funded through the NIP are available to the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
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. This usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia. Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season.
Further information and resources about 2020 seasonal influenza vaccines will be made available shortly and the Guild will update this advice accordingly.
The Guild is able to deliver training in every state and territory and has a full suite of online and workshop resources to get you qualified in time for the flu season. Further information is available from the State Branches. Please visit GuildED for a new training module that provides pharmacists with practical advice and new information relating to vaccinations in 2020.
The Vaccination Service Area guide (members only) assists members by providing resources and information to guide pharmacists providing flu vaccination services to the community. Pharmacists can also refresh their knowledge of key immunisation concepts through the latest Guild Learning and Development online course which reviews a wide range of issues from clinical details through to community myths and arguments.
The Guild has developed a range of flu vaccination resources (Guild members only) for use in promoting your in-pharmacy service, which include posters, suggested social media posts, downloadable handouts, templates and forms.
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.
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.
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.
The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccinations given to people of all ages in Australia. Previously known as the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), in 2016 it changed to a whole of life register for children and adults.
As record numbers of Australians choose to receive their vaccinations from their pharmacies, it is vital that pharmacies actively contribute to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) by uploading patient records. It is mandatory for all vaccination providers to report immunisations to the AIR.
To make sure that the record of vaccination from your pharmacy appears in your patient’s AIR immunisation history statement soon after the service, there are a few things you can do.
Individual pharmacist cannot apply to be a recognised vaccination provider and may only apply as an organisation applicant on behalf of their pharmacy1. Registration forms must be submitted to your state or territory health department for approval before being forwarded to Services Australia for recording on the AIR.
Pharmacies must register for an organisation account in PRODA to be able to access the AIR and upload vaccination records. All pharmacists must also register for an individual PRODA account to be able to upload records on behalf of the pharmacy.
Once approved, the pharmacy will be issued a unique vaccination provider number and provided with information on how to register the pharmacy as an organisation for PRODA. The pharmacy will also receive an AIR linking code, which will allow the pharmacy to link and access the AIR via the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) portal in PRODA.
Your AIR password expires after six months of inactivity. Similarly, your account may be deactivated if you have not logged into the AIR site or submitted data to the register for 18 months.
Pharmacies should check with their professional services software provider whether vaccination records can be automatically uploaded to the AIR by entering the pharmacy’s AIR provider number into the software.
Check the accuracy and the completeness of your patient data
Accurate and complete patient data will help AIR match the records it receives from your pharmacy to your patient’s immunisation profile. This includes
In some States and Territories where pharmacies offer NIP-funded vaccinations, AIR records may be used to evaluate the success of the program. This adds another level of significance for accurate and complete records from pharmacies being sent to AIR.
For more information on the AIR and how to register as a vaccination provider, follow the links below.
From April 2020, pharmacists and pre-registrant pharmacists that meet specific criteria in the ACT, can provide influenza vaccinations to persons aged 10 years and over, and the diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mums-rubellea (MMR) vaccinations to persons aged 16 years and over, without a prescription.
In 2020, participating pharmacies will again be able to provide National Immunisation Program (NIP) funded influenza vaccinations to persons aged 65 years and over, in conjunction with ACT Health, after the successful 2019 pilot program. Pharmacies may wish to charge a service fee for the administration of the NIP funded vaccine, as they are not paid by ACT Health or the Commonwealth for the service.
The Public Health (Community Pharmacy) Code of Practice 2016 (No 1) clause 4 stipulates compliance with the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards.
The Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods (Vaccinations by Pharmacists) Direction 2020 (No1) includes the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards.
The ACT Government Pharmacist Vaccinations webpage contains fact sheets, the ACT Vaccination Standards, an Immunisation Adverse Event Reporting Form and a Pharmacist Vaccination Influenza Record Form.
The Whooping Cough & Flu Vaccination A4 poster (PDF, 3022.82 KB) (which can also be printed in A3 size) or A1 Poster (PDF, 7736.03 KB)can be downloaded to let your customers know of this additional service.
NSW Guild Training delivers training to ACT pharmacists on behalf of the ACT Branch. NSW Guild Training has been providing nationally recognised training to pharmacists and pharmacy staff throughout Australia since 1995. For further information on training for the Pharmacist Administration of Influenza Vaccine, please visit the NSW Branch Training page.
The NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (clause 48A) has been amended to authorise appropriately trained pharmacists in NSW to administer privately funded influenza vaccine to individuals aged 10 years and over, and diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines to individuals aged 16 years and over. This reduces the previous minimum age for the influenza vaccine.
The NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards (315Kb PDF) were updated on 14th May 2020.
Authorised pharmacists are required to report all vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). More information about the AIR is available on the Department of Human Services website.
Additional resources for NSW pharmacist vaccinators can be found on the NSW Branch Clinical Education webpage here.
NSW Guild Training provides an Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) approved training course, Pharmacy Guild Immunisation Course. This course is accredited for 34 Group 2 CPD credits and is a blended format of online pre-learning modules followed by a one day face-to-face practical training day.
The Scheduled Substance Treatment Protocol (SSTP) allows appropriately trained pharmacists to administer influenza, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccines to persons aged 16 years.
In May 2020, the NT Chief Health Officer enabled pharmacists to administer the influenza vaccination to children aged 10 years and over, after completing an additional unit of education. This change lowers the previous age minimum from 16 years old. The details of the change are set out in the Government Gazette No. S30.
The age limit of 16 years and over remains in place for pharmacists administering the MMR and DTP vaccines.
The Northern Territory Department of Health have updated the Administration of Vaccines by Pharmacists at Pharmacies NT Protocol and the PS5 Standard for Pharmacy Based Immunisation Programs.
Pharmacists may also administer vaccinations outside of pharmacy premises, in line with the regulations set out in the Administration of Vaccines by Pharmacists at places other than Pharmacies in the Northern Territory Protocol.
The NT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild provides accredited training for immunising pharmacists. Please contact the NT Branch on 08 8944 6900 or email@example.com for further information.
In February 2020, the Queensland government amended the Drug Therapy Protocol to lower the age that approved pharmacists may administer the influenza vaccine to 10 years old, and expand the range of vaccines that approved pharmacists may administer. An authorised pharmacist or trainee pharmacist under supervision, may administer the following range of vaccines to persons aged 16 years and over: measles- mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus-diphtheria- acellular pertussis (dTpa), dTpa in combination with inactivated poliovirus, poliomyelitis, cholera, Haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis A, meningococcal ACWY and pneumococcal vaccine.
The Pharmacist Vaccination Standards (60Kb PDF) and Drug Therapy Protocol – Pharmacist Vaccination Program (78Kb PDF) are available from the QLD Health website.
Read further information on upcoming pharmacist vaccination courses in Queensland. Alternatively, please contact the QLD Guild Branch on (07) 3831 3788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In South Australia, pharmacists who have completed an approved training program can provide influenza vaccinations to persons aged 10 years and over, and diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (dTpa), dTpa in combination with inactivated poliovirus and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccinations to persons aged 16 years and over without a prescription.
The SA Health Vaccine Administration Code was last updated in March 2020 to lower the previous minimum age for the influenza vaccine. More information about vaccination in pharmacies is available from SA Health Website.
The Pharmacy Guild, SA Branch's course Vaccination Services delivered by Pharmacists has been approved by the SA Department of Health and Ageing to train, mentor and coach pharmacists in the techniques required to conduct a vaccination service within a pharmacy.
In line with Tasmanian Poisons Regulation 2008 (S.R. 2008, No 162) pharmacists who have completed an approved training program can provide influenza vaccinations to persons aged 10 years and over, and diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccinations to persons aged 16 years in an approved setting.
Pharmacists wishing to administer influenza vaccines must take appropriate training to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to administer vaccines. Once a pharmacist has completed approved training, they are required to administer five vaccinations under the supervision of a nurse immuniser or GP in clinical conditions. Final approval is then provided by the Director of Public Health. The Community Pharmacy must also be approved by the Director of Public Health. Full requirements are set out in the Tasmanian Vaccination Program Guidelines.
The Tasmanian Guild Branch delivers the CPD accredited Guild Pharmacist Vaccination Training – Pharmacist Administration of Influenza Vaccine that provides participants with the skills and knowledge to provide immunisations to people in a community pharmacy environment in Tasmania.
For further information, please contact the Tasmanian Guild Branch.
On 27 February 2020 the Secretary Approval for Pharmacist Immuniser was amended to allow an approved pharmacist to administer influenza vaccine to persons aged 10 years and over, and pertussis immunisations, measles-mums-rubella (MMR) and meningococcal ACWY to eligible people aged 15 years and over, effective from 1 April 2020. This lowers the previous age limits and expands the range of vaccines that may be administered by an approved pharmacist in Victoria to include meningococcal ACWY vaccine.
Participating pharmacies in Victoria will again be able to provide a range of vaccines to eligible persons under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), as set out by Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
A Secretary Approval Pharmacist Immuniser defines the conditions that apply to pharmacists. The conditions of the Secretary Approval and related requirements that pharmacists are required to comply with are described in the Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program Guidelines. These Guidelines describe the conditions of the Approval and expectations regarding pharmacists’ training, fees, premises, vaccines, protocols, target groups and exclusions.
As a condition of the Secretary Approval, pharmacies are required to provide evidence of completion of approved training, nominate a responsible pharmacist and register with the Department of Health & Human Services before they begin administering vaccinations.
Pharmacies providing a vaccination service must be accredited through an appropriate quality assurance program, such as the Quality Care Pharmacy Program.
For further information, please visit the Victoria State Government – Pharmacist Immunisers page or contact the Victorian Guild Branch.
The Western Australian Poisons Legislation was originally amended on 15 December 2014 to allow pharmacists to administer vaccines.
On 30th January 2017 the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 and its subsidiary legislation, the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 replaced the Poisons Act 1964 and Poisons Regulations 1965.
Effective from October 2020, the Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA) – Administration of vaccines by pharmacists and SASA- Influenza vaccination- authorise pharmacists trained in immunisation to administer vaccinations at a place or premises, including a community pharmacy registered in WA, that meets the requirements of an approved setting as outlined in the SASA. This includes the administration of the influenza vaccine to persons aged 10 years and over, and diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (dTpa), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and meningococcal ACWY vaccines to persons aged 16 years and over. The SASA are available from the WA Department of Health website.
In 2020, participating pharmacies will again be able to provide National Immunisation Program (NIP) funded influenza vaccinations to persons aged 65 years and over as part of the influenza vaccination trial.
Immunisation courses for pharmacists must be approved by the CEO of the Department of Health Western Australia. The Pharmacy Guild's WA Branch training course, Pharmacist Administration of Influenza Vaccine, is an approved course.
Further information is available from the Pharmacist Immunisation Training page.