The upcoming flu season is showing signs of being severe, and conflicting advice is causing confusion as to when the best time is to have a flu shot. Pharmacists should apply their professional skills and knowledge when assessing patients and patients should be reminded of the importance of vaccination in protecting themselves while also helping to stop the spread of the disease – Protect Yourself, Protect the Community. This guide (external link) provides a range of resources to help inform pharmacists and patients about the flu season and optimum vaccination strategies.
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
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 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.
In the ACT, pharmacists that meet a specific criteria can provide influenza and the diphtheria, tetanus, a-cellular pertussis (dTpa) vaccinations to patients 16 years and over without a prescription.
During the 2019 influenza season, ACT Health will be operating a pilot program with participating pharmacies to provide National Immunisation Program (NIP) funded influenza vaccinations for patients aged 65 years and over.
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 2019 (No 1) 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.
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 commence on 1 January 2019) to authorise appropriately trained pharmacists in NSW to administer privately funded diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines to individuals aged 16 years and over. This is in addition to influenza vaccine.
The NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards were updated on 23rd November 2018.
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.
More information on pharmacist initiation and administration of vaccines is available from the NSW Health website.
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.
On 16 March 2017, a new Scheduled Substance Treatment Protocol (SSTP) for "Pharmacist-led administration of vaccines to adults at pharmacy premises in the Northern Territory" was gazetted, signalling that this program is now mainstream and the pilot program has ceased.
The Gazettal notice replaces the previous amendment to the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act that allows a pharmacist in the course of practising the pharmacy profession to supply and administer a vaccine to a person in accordance with the approved scheduled substance treatment protocol (SSTP) for the relevant place. Click here for a copy of the Gazettal notice and the current SSTP.
The new SSTP allows appropriately trained pharmacists to administer influenza, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccines to adults aged 16 years and over from community pharmacy premises.
The Northern Territory Department of Health have issued information for Pharmacists to administer vaccinations in pharmacy premises in the Northern Territory which includes reference to the “Northern Territory Pharmacist-Led Immunisation Guidelines - Guidelines for Immunisations at Pharmacy Premises in the Northern Territory.”
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 April 2019, the Queensland government amended the Drug Therapy Protocol and lowered the age that approved pharmacists to administer influenza, measles and pertussis immunisations to people aged 16 years and over.
The Pharmacist Vaccination Standards and Drug Therapy Protocol – Pharmacist Vaccination Program are available from the QLD Health website.
For further information on upcoming pharmacist vaccination courses in Queensland, please click here. Alternatively, please contact the QLD Guild Branch on (07) 3831 3788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since early 2015, pharmacists can administer influenza vaccine to people over the age of 16 who are not eligible for NIP. Pharmacies must be approved by SA Health to provide a pharmacist vaccination service.
The SA Health Vaccine Administration Code is available from the 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.
The Tasmanian Branch welcomed the changes to the Tasmanian Poisons Regulations 2008 (S.R. 2008, No. 162) on the 3rd of February 2016 which enabled appropriately trained and approved pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines to people over 18 years of age 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. The Tasmanian Guild Branch has prepared the resource Pharmacist Vaccination In Tasmania Explained.
The Tasmanian Guild Branch delivers the 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. This course is accredited for 22 Group 2 CPD points.
For further information, please contact the Tasmanian Guild Branch.
On 10 May 2016, the Secretary Approval for Pharmacist Immunisers (S140) was gazetted to allow an approved pharmacist to administer influenza and pertussis immunisations to eligible people aged 18 years and over.
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.
In 2018, The Victorian Government is expanding its existing pharmacist immuniser program to include the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and lowering the age of access to 16 years.
These Guidelines note that in addition to measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, Pharmacist Immunisers are authorised to administer influenza and pertussis-containing vaccines to individuals aged 16 years and over.
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.
The Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA) – Administration of Influenza Vaccines by Pharmacists - authorises Pharmacists trained in immunisation to administer influenza vaccines at a Registered Pharmacy in Western Australia. The SASA is available from the WA Department of Health website.
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.