In the first week of October, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomed the Andrews Labor Government and the Victorian Department of Health's decision to allow pharmacist immunisers to administer the monkeypox vaccine.
After the Covid-19 surge, the monkeypox virus outbreak occurred and the country has been affected. As of October 20, 2022, the number of cases of monkeypox rose to 140. Because of this, everyone is encouraged to get the monkeypox shot in order to prevent its spread and reduce the symptoms it gives to individuals.
For community pharmacists, it is a pleasure to have this monkeypox vaccine able to be administered to patients. But, does this mean there are more pharmacist vaccinators needed? Well, the answer would be yes. Aside from the said vaccine, Victorian residents of Australia can also receive the following vaccines from their respective community pharmacists:
HPV vaccines to individuals 12 years old and above
Pneumococcal vaccines to individuals 50 years old and above
Shingles vaccines to individuals 50 years old and above
Furthermore, included in the decision of changes is the authority of community pharmacists to administer DPT vaccines to individuals 12 years old and above. Previously, this vaccine administration was only for those 15 years old and above.
According to Anthony Tassone, the Guild’s Victorian Branch Vice President, this change is a great way to protect families and communities, and the skills of every pharmacist be used to help further benefit the healthcare system of Australia.
Pharmacists and patients are highly encouraged to communicate with one another to find the possible vaccines that can be administered to the latter. Through this initiative, a healthier and safer community is attainable in the country.
Reducing Co-Payment Leads to Accessible Medicines
Over the past few months, community pharmacists have advocated reducing co-payment because of their concerns for their patients who always speak about not being able to afford their medications.
To finally address this advocacy, the Budget presented last October 25, 2022, by Treasurer Jim Chalmers reaffirms the Government's pledge to lower the general co-payment for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from $41.50 to $30. According to Trent Twomey, the Guild’s National President, this step is a great way for patients to address not just their health finances but their daily cost of living as well.
In addition to this, the Budget will also create 20,000 Government-funded university enrolment placements in the country which could be open for pharmacist degrees, increasing the number of student pharmacists. Professor Twomey states that this is helpful in addressing the pharmacy workforce shortage. As a proactive initiative, this will also ensure that students will be able to better study the pharmacy profession.
North Queensland Community Pharmacy Pilot
Previously, there was a Pharmacy UTI Pilot that was implemented. This Pilot was made to allow community pharmacists to treat and manage uncomplicated UTIs. In addition to this, the North Queensland Community Pharmacy Pilot will soon be commenced.
Generally, this Pilot will allow community pharmacists in North Queensland to treat and manage common mild to moderate health conditions such as the following:
Community pharmacists who want to provide these services will undergo a year of postgraduate education and training in addition to their 5 years of university training prior to becoming a registered pharmacist.
According to Chris Owen, the Guild’s Queensland Branch President, this Pilot will aid in reducing unnecessary ambulance ramping and emergency department visits. Also, patients will have more options for receiving prompt treatment for these health issues, which will relieve pressure on our already overstretched GP clinics and emergency rooms.
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