Following Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter’s announcement on 30 October that the way is clear for DHBs to contract pharmacy to vaccinate 16-49 year olds against measles, only 8 of 20 DHBs are now in the process of doing so.
The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand is calling for urgent action from District Health Boards to contract trained pharmacist vaccinators to deliver the measles vaccine to New Zealanders aged 16-49, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Pharmaceutical Society President Ian McMichael says “There is still no catch-up programme. This is now urgent! Every DHB should have a measles action plan and be extending access to measles vaccinations in their area.”
“With around 1000 pharmacists trained to give vaccines, and more in training, it makes sense to use pharmacies as part of the solution in vaccination campaigns.”
“2020 is only a few months away and everybody in New Zealand want to avoid another outbreak. To do so we must ensure all our population is immunised, says McMichael.”
“New Zealand has large pockets of unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated people. Most of the measles cases this year have been in the 20 to 29 year old age group. In this group many are likely to be employed and may find taking time off work to get to a doctor's appointment difficult, says McMichael.”
“Being able to get the measles vaccine from your local pharmacy would mean people can go and get it on a Saturday morning when it’s convenient for them.”
“There is a robust, proven set of procedures which pharmacist vaccinators follow when providing vaccinations to the public and they are trained the same as other health professionals to carry out vaccination services,” said McMichael.
From 2020 all intern pharmacists will be trained as vaccinators as a regular part of their pharmacist intern training programme, which will mean that each year there will be an additional 200 new pharmacist vaccinators available.