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Pharmacies invited to administer Covid-19 vaccines

Emma Pritchard|

Community pharmacies across Australia are being invited to join the nation-wide effort to administer Covid-19 vaccines through the Community Pharmacy Covid-19 Vaccination Program.
The distribution effort will be one of the largest logistical operations in the country’s history and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said pharmacies will be an important partner in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
Mr Hogan said an expression of interest process commenced February 1 for community pharmacies around Australia to participate.
“This program will be used to immunise priority populations from Phase 2a expected from May of the Australian Covid-19 vaccination rollout strategy,” he said.
“Utilising the existing network of community pharmacies will ensure the general population have broader access to Covid-19 vaccinations and will provide choice in where the community receive a vaccine.
“Participation in the program will be voluntary and pharmacies will need to demonstrate they meet the highest safety standards and have capacity and capability to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.
“This process commenced recently for general practices to assist in the delivery of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and community pharmacies will be another important vaccination point for many communities.”
Mr Hogan said all health professionals involved in the vaccination program will have undertaken specialised training.
Many of Australia’s community pharmacies are already critical in the delivery of the seasonal influenza vaccines across the entire population, and their efforts in stepping up to support the Covid-19 vaccine program will be important in ensuring wide accessibility and take up.
Recently, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly declared confidence is the key ahead of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and said the Federal Government’s $24 million advertising campaign, aims to encourage the community to get the vaccine.
Mr Kelly said it is important to build community confidence and admitted there are many people who are hesitant about vaccines.
Numerous surveys and Government research revealed women aged between 30 and 39 as the group most likely to be mistrustful of the Covid-19 vaccine and hesitant to roll up their sleeves.
Clarence Valley resident Gracelyn Reynolds said despite being “a big believer in vaccines”, she is reluctant to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I don’t distrust vaccines and all my kids received the standard vaccinations when they were younger, but this vaccine is so new and it’s still, I think, an unknown because we don’t know what the possible long-term side-effects may be,” she said.
“I’m 38, I have three kids, I’m not planning on growing my family which I think is a main reason why a lot of women aged in their thirties are hesitant to get this vaccine, but I do have genuine concerns regarding its safety.
“It’s been developed very fast and it was approved quickly, I just need some reassurance.”
Mr Kelly said the more people who receive a Covid-19 vaccination, the better, and assured the community that no shortcuts have been taken and safety will be ensured before the rollout to the community commences.
Ms Reynolds said while her 39-year-old sister has no hesitancy in getting the Covid-19 vaccine, she will be “happy to wait a little longer.”
“I’ll just keep social distancing, using hand sanitiser and only going out when I need to because all those things help to keep people safe.”