South Australian pharmacists will be able to directly administer the influenza vaccine from 2015, making it easier for members of our community to get the flu shot.
Many people have difficulty finding the time to book an appointment with their GP so enabling pharmacists to administer influenza vaccinations will encourage a greater uptake of the vaccine in 2015 and help reduce the additional burden on the health system.
In 2014 there were more than 11,000 notified cases of influenza in South Australia, the highest number of cases on record, surpassing even the swine flu epidemic of 2009.
The 2015 flu vaccine is expected to become available at the end of March.
Pharmacists will be able to provide the vaccine to adults over the age of 16, who are not already eligible for a free flu shot as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
People who are eligible for the free vaccine as part of the Annual Influenza Program, including pregnant women, people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, will still need to visit their GP to receive their free vaccination.
Some pharmacies have offered flu shots for a number of years, however previously these had to be administered by a registered nurse.
Pharmacists wishing to administer flu vaccines will need to undergo appropriate training to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to both deliver the vaccine and identify and treat any possible side effects.
The pharmacy they work for will also need to be accredited by SA Health and undergo an audit every two years as per pharmacy industry standards.