Greater access to free vaccines

FREE VACCINES: Greater vaccine access a positive move for the community. Picture: FILE.

Melanie Riley

A number of Limestone Coast pharmacies will be able to offer free vaccines to eligible people this year, with the federal government launching subsidies under the National Immunisation Program.

Under the new initiative, vaccinations previously only offered to eligible patients at GP clinics will now be available for free at selected pharmacies.

The program will now offer several vaccines including shingles, tetanus, human papillomavirus (HPV), pneumococcal disease and meningococcal disease.

Those under five years of age can continue to access childhood vaccines through GPs and local council clinics.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton said offering vaccinations at pharmacies would reduce pressure on doctors and boost the uptake of vaccines in South Australia.

Chief public health officer, Nicola Spurrier said prevention is always better than a cure and immunisation provides the best protection against many infectious diseases.

“This increased access via community pharmacies provides greater opportunity for our community to protect themselves, especially in our regional areas,” she said.

Priceline Marketplace pharmacist manager Nicholas Walters is supportive of the expansion of the National Immunisation Program.

“It means better access to preventative care and ultimately, better health outcomes for my patients,” he said.

“It also recognises the important role pharmacists play as vaccinators in our community.”

He agreed that the expansion would make a positive impact on the healthcare system.

“We hope that by expanding services in pharmacy, we can lighten the load on our GP practices, and help to improve patients’ access to these critical healthcare professionals,” he said.

“Pharmacists already have the training and the capacity to deliver vaccinations at scale, as demonstrated by our extensive involvement in the COVID vaccination roll out.”

Vaccines are expected to be ready for consumers from late January.

Approved pharmacies may start to offer bookings during January as stock becomes available.

South Australians can speak to their pharmacist about eligibility and how to book an appointment.

There are several pharmacies offering the free vaccines for eligible people:

Bordertown: Bordertown Pharmacy

Keith: Keith Pharmacy

Mount Gambier:

Chemist King

Gambier City Pharmacy

Gambier Village Pharmacy

Priceline Pharmacy Marketplace

Priceline Pharmacy

Star Discount Chemist

Star Discount Chemist Sturt Street

Naracoorte: Direct Chemist Outlet

Penola: Penola Pharmacy

Port MacDonnell: Port MacDonnell Pharmacy