Immunisation

Which vaccines can I get from my community pharmacist?

Under NSW regulation and authorisation, NSW pharmacists who have undertaken appropriate training are able to administer the following privately funded vaccines:
• Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa) – people aged 16 years and over
• Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) – people aged 16 years and over
• Influenza – people aged 10 years and over

Why are pharmacists allowed to administer more vaccines?

Before 1 January 2019, NSW pharmacists could only administer the influenza vaccine to individuals aged 18 years and over. Changes to regulations have expanded the vaccines available from community pharmacists. The changes now make the influenza vaccine more readily available to people aged 10 years and over, as well as whooping cough and measles vaccines to people aged 16 years and over. This will be beneficial in areas where access to a GP may be limited. Grandparents and carers of young children and partners of pregnant women will also benefit with having access to the whooping cough vaccine before having contact with a newborn infant. Although the MMR vaccine is free for susceptible young adults from GPs, making the vaccine more readily available will benefit those who do not routinely attend a GP.

Who should receive diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (dTpa)?

The dTpa (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough) vaccine is recommended for anyone who wishes to protect themselves against these diseases. Booster doses should be received every 10 years. It is particularly important for healthcare workers and anyone who will be having contact with newborn babies to ensure that they receive the booster vaccine against whooping cough. This includes partners of pregnant women, grandparents, extended family and friends. Women should have a whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy, ideally at 28-32 weeks gestation but it can be received any time in the third trimester. This vaccine is free for pregnant women from their GP or maternity service.

Who should receive measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)?

Anyone born during or since 1966 that does not have documentation of two doses of measles vaccine is recommended to receive this vaccine, particularly young adult travellers who may be visiting countries where measles continues to circulate, such as most countries in Asia and many in Europe.

Is it safe to be vaccinated by a pharmacist?

Yes. Pharmacists are required to complete a comprehensive training program which includes conducting a pre-vaccination assessment and management of any adverse event that may occur after vaccination. Pharmacists in NSW have been safely administering influenza vaccines since 2015 and no safety concerns have been identified.

Can a 16-year-old consent to vaccination?

Yes. However, the pharmacist can only administer the vaccineif they are certain that the person understands what they are
to. The pharmacist must perform a pre-vaccination assessment before administering any vaccine.

Why can’t I get my child vaccinated at the pharmacy?

Vaccinating children can be more complex than adults and they often require several vaccines at the same time. Most vaccines that are required by children are available for free through either a state funded program or the National Immunisation Program. These free vaccines are available from GPs, some council or Community Health clinics, and Aboriginal Medical Services. When receiving these vaccines your child will also likely receive medical assessment appropriate to their developmental milestones.

How will my GP have a record of any vaccinations I receive at a pharmacy?

Your GP will be able to look up your vaccination record via the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). The AIR is a national register that records vaccines given to all people of all ages and information in the Register is accessible by authorised health professionals such as GPs, nurse immunisers and authorised pharmacists, as well as by individuals for their own records and those of their children.