The introduction of pharmacist administered vaccines has proved to be very successful with this service regarded as a winner for all concerned and instrumental in changing perceptions about the role of community pharmacy.
A registered pharmacist initiating and administering influenza vaccines under his or her own authority to a person aged 18 years or older in a NSW retail pharmacy must comply with the following three components of clause 48A of the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008. They must complete an accredited vaccination training course, conduct vaccinations according to the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards and they must record the details of each vaccination.
Both the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia provide guidelines on the administration of immunisation services in pharmacy and these should be read in conjunction with information and recommendations provided in the current edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook (AIH). These resources are aimed at supporting pharmacists to provide the safest use of vaccines in their practice.
However, in light of the availability of appropriate training and resources, of concern are those few cases where the injection was not administered correctly. We were recently made aware of several people injected with influenza vaccination given by a pharmacist high in the shoulder joint instead of in the deltoid muscle.
Whilst it has been shown that the profession has the skills and the commitment to provide this vital service to the community, mistakes like this have the potential to erode customer confidence.
Reasons cited for attending a pharmacist for vaccination include convenience, no need to make a GP appointment and the concern of being infected by sitting in a GP waiting room next to sick patients. Consumers are increasingly regarding their local community pharmacy as a broader health destination with the provision of vaccination services being a great step forward for the profession.
Pharmacists providing immunisation services are reminded they must adhere to the NSW Pharmacists Vaccination Standards.
All vaccinating pharmacists are also strongly encouraged to register as a vaccination provider with the Australian Immunisation Register.