GPs must retain lead vaccination role: AMA

The AMA has clarified its position on pharmacy-led vaccination services, saying it does not support pharmacists administering vaccinations.

Last year the Priceline pharmacy chain began offering nurse-administered flu vaccinations at its stores. That led to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia drawing up draft standards for pharmacies thinking of hosting vaccination services.

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The AMA wrote to the society, saying it would "not support any future legislation change to allow pharmacists to administer injections until this was included in pharmacists' core training".

However, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said Monday this did not mean the AMA would support pharmacists administering vaccinations, even if they were subject to training.

"We think general practice should do all the vaccinations. GPs are the only ones with the medical records, with the patient histories."

He also said it was a conflict of interest for pharmacies to administer vaccinations as well as dispense them.

"We are not giving pharmacists [wanting to administer vaccinations] a green light."

If pharmacies were moving to host vaccination services, it was essential they were subject to the same standards as general practices, he said.

"We don't have the option of saying nothing [on the issue]. If we did not comment [on the society's draft guidelines] that could be taken as tacit approval.

"We wanted to make it very clear that there needed to be minimum standards, that there was a bar they had to clear. [The] draft was not strong enough."