20 May 2019

Tasmanian Government expansion of flu vaccination program risks patient safety

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has questioned the Tasmanian Government for its decision to extend pharmacists’ administering of flu vaccinations to children as young as ten.

President of the RACGP, Dr Harry Nespolon has labelled the move as baffling, saying the decision has no grounds and could put young patients at risk.

“Although this has been a particularly bad flu season, we are unaware of any access issues for this particular patient group in Tasmania, and there is no reason for these patients to visit a pharmacy for this healthcare service," Dr Nespolon said.

“All patients, no matter their age, should receive their flu vaccination from their usual GP.

“Administering a flu vaccination is an invaluable opportunity for a patient to have their overall health assessed. Only GPs can provide this comprehensive and holistic care.”

Dr Nespolon said offering ad hoc health services without any connection to a patient’s general practice would fragment their healthcare.

“It’s quite simple, pharmacists don’t have the medical training required to safely deliver vaccinations and respond to associated risks, such as anaphylaxes," Dr Nespolon said.

“This appears to be another attempt by the pharmacy sector to put financial gains over quality patient care and safety.

“The Tasmanian Government should be further supporting patients to see their GP, rather than fragmenting their healthcare.

“I call on the Tasmanian Government to reconsider its decision, before any patient suffers the potential negative effects of this decision.”

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor

Ally Francis

Media and Engagement Specialist