Pharmacists in New South Wales will be able to administer the influenza vaccination to children aged 10 and above, in a move announced by the NSW Government that has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

PSA NSW Branch President, Professor Peter Carroll, congratulated NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on today’s announcement to enable pharmacists to better protect the community from influenza from mid-March.

“This is a significant announcement from the NSW Government and will protect younger children from influenza and significantly increase immunisation rates in the state,” he said.

“During 2019, NSW recorded the highest confirmed cases of influenza in Australia with children particularly susceptible to the flu. Studies have found that less than a third of children are being immunised each flu season and influenza causes a substantial number of ICU admissions in Australian children each year.”

Professor Carroll said NSW children would now be better protected from influenza as today’s announcement would allow families greater access to the vaccine and was particularly timely with the upcoming flu season.

“Allowing pharmacists to vaccinate makes it more convenient for families, providing greater access to the influenza vaccine and improving rates of immunisation,” he said.

“Already, this year there has been 4,725 confirmed cases of influenza in NSW and with the likely convergence of a COVID-19 pandemic with winter influenza, this move will help to bolster immunity in NSW.

“Boosting vaccination rates and preventing influenza outbreaks can ease pressure on our GP surgeries and hospital emergency departments.

Professor Carroll said as the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has previously advocated, including most recently in PSA’s NSW pre-budget submission, to allow pharmacists to improve access to influenza vaccinations for adolescents.

“PSA commends the NSW Government and NSW Health for continuing to progress recommendations made to better protect the community,” he said.

Media release: AAP Medianet