Society Welcomes Collaboration with Medical Colleagues to boost Flu Jab Uptake

15 March 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

Society Welcomes Collaboration with Medical Colleagues to boost Flu Jab Uptake

The Society welcomes the announcement that from 1 April, subsidised flu vaccinations will be available to the over 65s and pregnant women through pharmacies.

Pharmacists believe that the new provision will help to lift the overall uptake of vaccinations in these vulnerable groups but believe that most people who regularly get vaccinated will do so through their usual provider.

“There is a natural synergy between the service offered by pharmacists and their medical colleagues,” says Graeme Smith, President of the Pharmaceutical Society.

“We welcome the opportunity to add to the excellent work done by GPs to reach the target of having 75% vaccination rates in over 65s and improve uptake of flu vaccinations for pregnant women. This is an example of pharmacists being able to contribute directly as part of the integrated health care team.”

Rates of vaccination by over 65s have stalled in recent years at about 65%. We know from research into unsubsidised vaccinations in pharmacy that 42% of patients who receive a flu injection from a pharmacy were not vaccinated the year before.

While some people may choose the convenience of longer opening hours and lack of a need for an appointment at pharmacies, we expect the majority of people who have traditionally been vaccinated by general practice will continue to do so.

“In the future we expect that we may be able to work alongside our medical colleagues to offer subsidised vaccinations for things like whooping cough,” Graeme says.

The mandate for pharmacists offering vaccinations and other extended services like warfarin monitoring are set out in the Government’s recently released Pharmacy Action Plan and New Zealand Health Strategy.