Clubs ACT, Pharmacy Guild propose plan for vaccination hubs in Canberra clubs (Canberra Times Article)

08/04/2021

Clubs ACT, Pharmacy Guild propose plan for vaccination hubs in Canberra clubs

Canberrans could be heading to their local club to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, as community clubs and pharmacies have teamed up in a bid to provide residents better access to the jab.

The ACT branch of the Pharmacy Guild and Clubs ACT have signed an agreement to join forces in the hope of providing vaccines at clubs across Canberra.

Clubs ACT chief executive Craig Shannon said vaccination hubs led by pharmacists at local clubs were on the cards, as were dedicated staff vaccination days.

The program would begin with the flu vaccine but Mr Shannon hoped it could expand to allow the COVID-19 vaccine to be provided at venues.

“We’ve got reasonably large facilities,” he said. “The opportunity for large numbers of people, even in social distancing terms, to come in and get vaccinated, it is a lot easier than it would be in a number of pharmacies around town.”

He hoped bringing vaccines on site for staff would also boost take-up by making it accessible.

Mr Shannon said the detail was yet to be ironed out, but the idea could get off the ground within months.

“We’d be happy to roll out some kind of activities before the end of the year,” he said.

“We hope to get something moving relatively quickly in regards to the flu vaccine.”

Mr Shannon said COVID-19 vaccine supply was the greatest constraint in expanding that idea but expected as supply increased and Pfizer was added to the armoury in pharmacies, a club-based hub would be feasible.

Mr Shannon said the logistics needed to be determined before it was brought before ACT health authorities.

“We think this is complimenting the ACT government’s agenda,” he said.

“Once we’ve managed to the logistics and some of the programs we want to roll out are a bit more structured, we’ll sit down with the government and hopefully get their broader support.”

Canberra pharmacies are due to join the vaccine rollout in the next two weeks, after pleading with the government for months to take part.

About 60 pharmacies across Canberra have been deemed eligible to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The ACT government will change the pharmacy immunisation standards to allow the AstraZeneca vaccine to be provided to people aged above 18 with informed consent.

ACT Pharmacy Guild president Simon Blacker said it was important partnership to broaden vaccine offerings in Canberra.

“The most important word in community pharmacy is community,” Mr Blacker said.

“Community pharmacies strive for better health and wellbeing outcomes in the community.

“We are thrilled to work with Clubs ACT to offer wider access for their members and the public to flu vaccinations and health screenings.”