“People say that access to a doctor can be difficult sometimes, whether you live in the city, the country or on the coast, so that increased pharmacy vaccinations give people more choices,” Barilaro said.
Hazzard said he hoped that new grandparents, childcare professionals and pregnant women’s friends would use pharmacy MMR immunization services to protect newborn babies from the cough.
Health expert Brad Hazzard said he hoped that grandparents, carers and friends of pregnant women would be vaccinated for pertussis to protect newborns. Credit: Shutterstock
He also hoped that travelers would be immunized for MMR and dTpa before going abroad.
“Australia has wiped out measles and the only reported cases are from unvaccinated people who acquire it. It is abroad and then infects others locally,” Hazzard said.
Up to 20 percent of young adults have missed at least one dose of MMR vaccine, many of whom do not have a regular doctor, NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard said.
“Ideally, everyone would have a regular GP control but the reality as young adults needs this vaccine and we try to increase access to them “says Dr Sheppeard.
The Australian Medical Association NSW President Dr Kean-Sean Lim has opposed the move, calling it “concise” and warned that it would further fragment healthcare when patients circumvent doctors for va ccinations.
“A needle is more than a needle … it should be part of a comprehensive control,” said Dr. Lim.  Loading
He said increasing the pharmacist’s vaccination program reduced the ability for healthcare providers to get other health or health risks “and leave us all poorer for it.”
But the chairman of the NSW branch of the Pharmacy’s Guild of Australia David Heffernan said that the expansion was “very reasonable”.
“Healthcare will always be fragmented as long as doctors hold over everyone else,” says Heffernan.
“We do not know what nasty [infectious disease] will come in the future, but having this as an additional set of tools for the public can only be good.”
Pharmacists authorized to administer the vaccines must report all vaccinations to Australian Immunization Register.
All approved health professionals, including doctors, can turn up
The cost of each vaccine varies depending on the type and brand and if the doctor adds a service fee.
Earlier this month, Hazzard secured the support of the COAG Health Council to develop a national approach to vaccination standards for pharmacists who would make the program uniform across Australia.
People are entitled to free state-funded vaccines, including children under five years, aboriginals, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and people over 65 still need to see their doctor.
Kate Aubusson is the health editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.