From the President: Be ready for more vaccine speed bumps

Last month, community pharmacists in regional Queensland commenced vaccinating their communities against COVID-19.

This has been a long time coming and an important first step for pharmacists who have been ready and waiting for months to play their part in helping Australia exit the pandemic.

The PSA has been campaigning for many months to secure community pharmacist involvement in the strategy and I was delighted to see in late June a number of other jurisdictions follow Queensland’s lead in activating some of their local pharmacists.

One of the big things we are seeing play out in real-time is the complexity and difficulty in rolling out a global mass vaccination campaign mid-pandemic.

The unpredictability of supply, evolving clinical guidance from pharmacovigilance data, and workforce and logistical challenges see the vaccine roll out continue as headlining the news every night.

While we can be confident of increased mRNA vaccine supply later in the year and more community pharmacists coming on board, we must recognise there will be more unforeseen speed-bumps in the road, and we must be ready when our patients turn to us for guidance and support.

I’d again like to acknowledge pharmacists who have, for months, been preparing and administering the COVID-19 vaccines in hospitals, mass vaccination hubs, general practice, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

I’d also like to acknowledge those of you who have done the hard work at getting ready to be involved through doing the training, expressions of interest and advocacy at a local level.

You have all led by example and have helped support the case to government on how the profession is ready and willing to support the vaccine roll-out.

As someone who has had the privilege in my practice of vaccinating over 600 people against this vicious disease, I can attest to the sense of purpose it provides as well as drawing on the medicines expertise all pharmacists possess. I can also attest to the dedication and focus it requires.

Thank you all for doing your profession and your community proud.

This month is exciting with the return of PSA’s flagship conference PSA21.

The events team has put together a brilliant program of exceptional speakers to educate, stimulate and challenge you in your practice. We are monitoring the NSW COVID-19 situation closely and currently reviewing the delivery options around the conference, which we will be able to share soon.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Chris Freeman FPS, BPharm, GDipClinPharm, PhD, AACPA, AdvPracPharm, BCACP, MAICD