For the first time in NSW, pharmacists are now able to offer vaccines to teens who missed their school vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under new regulations that went into effect today, for the first time, pharmacists will be able to administer human papillomavirus and combined diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines to people 12 years of age and older and meningococcal ACWY vaccine to people aged 14 years or older.
Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, said pharmacists can play a key role in supporting the NSW Health Schools Vaccination Program, which provides routine vaccinations for teens in schools across NSW.
“Each year, NSW Health School’s vaccination program provides the full range of adolescent vaccines to students across the state,” said Dr. Chant.
But the impact of COVID-19 was far-reaching and nearly 80,000 students missed routine vaccinations in 2020 and 2021 due to illness or when schools were closed during the COVID-19 lockdown.
NSW Health is working hard to ensure that every student is offered remedial vaccination this year through the school program. However, we know that some students get lost, for example if they are absent on the day of the clinic.
“To make it easier for these students to keep up to date with their vaccinations, we are making routine NSW government-funded teen vaccinations accessible through local pharmacies across NSW. Vaccines for adolescents are already available from general practitioners “.
Additionally, pharmacists will now be able to administer measles-mumps-rubella to people 12 years of age and older (down from 16 years) to anyone who requests it, such as those who missed routine vaccination at 12 and 18 months.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia NSW Branch President David Heffernan congratulated the NSW government for expanding vaccines available in community pharmacies.
“The decision to offer these additional vaccines in community pharmacies offers more options for young people and their families,” Heffernan said.
“Community pharmacies welcome the opportunity to provide more vaccination services to their patients.”
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia NSW President Chelsea Felkai welcomed the announcement, which PSA has identified as a key priority.
“The pharmacist’s workforce has demonstrated its ability to increase vaccination rates, which has the potential to further reduce the disease burden associated with vaccine-preventable diseases such as meningococcal disease and ensure progress towards elimination is achieved. HPV “.
Dr Chant said vaccines will not only protect teens but others as well, as when the majority of the population has been vaccinated against a disease, it reduces its spread.