Sun, 06/14/2020 | News

Pharmacies giving more vaccines but real number unknown

A new NCIRS report titled “Review of pharmacist vaccination reporting to the Australian Immunisation Register” has highlighted the expanding role of pharmacists in providing vaccinations while identifying gaps in reporting of vaccination encounters to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). 

Increased advocacy and policy changes have expanded pharmacists’ scope of practice over the past decade, with appropriately trained pharmacists in all states and territories now able to give vaccinations. There are however considerable differences among jurisdictions, including the types of vaccines pharmacists are able to give and to people of what age, and requirements for training, accreditation and reporting.

According to the NCIRS study, which reviewed data from AIR, the greatest uptake of pharmacist vaccination has been in regional areas and in people aged 50–64 years, with influenza vaccine being the most commonly administered vaccine. However, the study findings indicate likely substantial under-reporting of pharmacist vaccinations to AIR. Of the over 2 million influenza vaccinations reportedly given by pharmacists in 2019, only a quarter were recorded on AIR. 

Accurate reporting of all vaccinations to the AIR is important to allow monitoring of vaccination uptake at the population level. It is also important at the individual level so that people and their treating doctors can track when they need more vaccines and reduce the potential for unnecessary repeat vaccinations.

The NCIRS report makes recommendations to improve pharmacist vaccination data in AIR, including further education of pharmacists and increasing and improving use of electronic reporting through practice software systems that integrate directly with AIR. NCIRS is currently undertaking a further study to better understand the barriers to, and enablers of, pharmacist vaccination reporting and to more accurately estimate the current completeness of pharmacist vaccination reporting to AIR. 

Read the full report here

Access the NCIRS information sheet "Vaccinations from a community pharmacy: at a glance" here – this resource provides a guide on the vaccines able to be administered by pharmacists in each state and territory.