Executive Summary of Tasmanian Pharmacist Administered Influenza Vaccination Program

Executive Summary of Tasmanian Pharmacist Administered Influenza Vaccination Program

Print version

Influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality in Australia, particularly for at-risk individuals such as the elderly and those with selected medical comorbidities.

Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended and funded by the Australian government under the National Immunisation Program for individuals at risk of influenza-related morbidity and mortality.

Before 2016 in Tasmania, seasonal influenza vaccination was provided by medical practitioners and authorised nurse immunisers through occupational health programs, pharmacy clinics and in a variety of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare settings.

An amendment to the Tasmanian Poisons Regulation (2008) in 2016 enabled authorised pharmacist Immunisers to administer the influenza vaccine to eligible adults in approved programs.

This report is an evaluation of the 2016 pharmacist-administered influenza vaccination program in its inaugural year.

Perspectives of the program were gathered from authorised pharmacist immunisers, responsible officers of authorised pharmacies that hosted the program, GPs and customers via online survey.

The evaluation aimed to understand the experience of a novel program delivered by trained pharmacist immunisation providers from a range of perspectives and to identify opportunities for continuous quality improvement of the pharmacist-administered influenza vaccination program.

During the inaugural year of the program, between 8 000 and 9 000 flu vaccines were administered; the typical recipient was a 45 year-old female known to the pharmacy as a regular customer.

Among the vaccine recipients, 17 per cent were eligible for government-funded vaccine, 12 per cent would not have been vaccinated if the service was not offered in the pharmacy setting and nine per cent had never been vaccinated against flu before.

Pharmacist immunisers engaged with the program most commonly for the purpose of professional development, and reported very positive experiences of the program including positive customer feedback and strengthening of customer-pharmacist relationships.

All indicated that they intend to apply for ongoing authorisation to immunise in the coming year.

Several concerns were highlighted by GPs mainly centred around a lack of notification of vaccination of their patients in the pharmacy setting, concerns of fragmentation of care and missed health promotion opportunities in general practice as a result of the program.

The evaluation highlighted a number of opportunities for improvement, including improvements in written procedures and communication and improvements to the pharmacy environment as a vaccination space.

A further planned, systematic evaluation focusing on knowledge gaps will help guide the program in coming years and help us further understand public health implications.