by GRACE JOHNSON
Vaccines will be free from your local pharmacy from January 1, says the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Up until now, eligible patients for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) faced an administration fee if they received their vaccination at a community pharmacy, but this will change from 2024.
The Pharmacy Guild’s National President, Professor Trent Twomey says the changes will see more pharmacies be able to administer more vaccines.“From the first of January all Australians will be able to ask their pharmacist for all vaccinations on the Commonwealth Government’s National Immunisation Program,” he said. Professor Twomey says having more pharmacists able to administer the vaccines will free up more appointments at doctors’ surgeries. “This is great news for Australians, great news for Australian families because it means they no longer have to wait up to four days in a capital city or even four weeks in a rural or regional area to secure an appointment with the general practitioner.” The changes will mean that patients have greater choice and convenience about where they get their vaccination. “There is no wrong door. You can continue, if you wish, to see your doctor but you now have that extra choice to be able to ask your community pharmacist for more vaccinations from January 1,” Professor Twomey said.
The ability of pharmacies to administer more vaccines follows in the steps of the announcement in September of pharmacies being able to resupply contraceptive pills without a prescription.
GPs have warned that despite the streamlined access to medication, regular check-ups are still crucial.