Free shots now at pharmacies

ELIGIBLE patients will no longer have to pay for vaccines at their local community pharmacy under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says that up until January 1, eligible patients for the NIP, faced an administration fee if they received their vaccination at a community pharmacy, but this has changed.
Praising the initiative as providing more choice for patients, Barone Pharmacy Chullora pharmacist Mario Barone said the move would also free up doctors more.
“The vaccines include shots for the flu, shingles and meningococcal which were already available to eligible patients for free at the GP but now there will be no need to pay for an appointment (if it’s not bulk-billed) or waiting around in a doctor’s surgery as you can have the same shots done by your pharmacist,” he said.
“But it is important to always check on the pharmacist’s availability and whether they have the vaccines in stock before you turn up.”
Eligible patients include those aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years and over and immunocompromised adults aged 18 years and over with haemopoietic stem cell transplant, solid organ transplant haematological malignancy, and advanced or untreated HIV.
Pharmacy Guild President Professor Trent Twomey said the changes would give patients greater choice about where they get their vaccination.
“It means you no longer have to wait up to four days in a capital city or even four weeks in a rural or regional area to secure an appointment with the general practitioner,” he said.