New range of pharmacy vaccinations pose risks to patients: RACGP SA

06 June, 2017

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) South Australia, the peak body for South Australia’s GPs, has strongly condemned the state government’s announcement of an expanded range of vaccinations that can be administered by South Australian pharmacists.

Minister for Health, Jack Snelling, has recently (Friday 26 May) announced that people aged 16 and over will be able to obtain vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio from their local authorised pharmacist.

The expanded range of vaccines administered by registered pharmacists follows the implementation of the pharmacist-administered flu vaccination program in early 2015.

RACGP SA Chair, Dr Danny Byrne, says, "your GP clinic is the safest and most appropriate place to get vaccinated, not pharmacies.

"They are not appropriately trained to deal with the complexities that come with vaccination programs, including counselling prior to administration and the management of potentially adverse reactions including anaphylaxis.

"General practices are able to provide a safe, private and comfortable setting to discuss confidential patient details prior to the administration of a vaccine.

"GPs also have access to critical information including patients' medical history and are trained to deal with adverse reactions, which may not present immediately.

"There is no evidence that delivering vaccinations via pharmacists is cost effective.

"If anything it will increase costs because patients presenting to pharmacies instead of general practice will result in fragmentation of care, missed opportunities for preventative health, reduced patient safety, and wasted health resources.

"Patients who are vaccinated at a pharmacy will face gaps in their medical history and may miss opportunities for important health interventions because pharmacists cannot update medical records and are not adequately trained to diagnose or manage care."