Pharmacies trial influenza, measles and whooping cough vaccinations

With influenza season fast approaching, Queensland recently experiencing a measles outbreak and the risk of whooping cough ever-present, the Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot (QPIP) aims to investigate the benefits of having registered pharmacists provide vaccinations against these three highly contagious diseases.

Approximately 200 pharmacies are currently involved in QPIP Phase Two so if your pharmacy is taking part in the trial, or you have customers that may have heard about the trial, here are some handy facts:

  • QPIP has been authorised by the Queensland Government, as part of a commitment to increase immunisation rates in Queensland, and provide Queenslanders with greater access to medical services.
  • QPIP is being delivered in partnership with The Pharmacy Guild, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, James Cook University and Queensland University of Technology.
  • Phase Two (the current trial) involves approximately 200 Queensland pharmacies delivering vaccinations to adults against three highly contagious diseases – influenza, and for the first time, measles and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Phase One of the trial was held from April to September 2014 and saw 80 Queensland pharmacies administer the influenza vaccine to more than 11,000 people, with no significant adverse effects.
  • Pharmacists administering the influenza, measles and whooping cough vaccinations as part of QPIP in approved pharmacies are registered health professionals who have undertaken approved training and are credentialed to provide immunisations.
  • Adults aged 18 and over can take part in the trial. Children are unable to take part in the trial.

What do you know about Influenza, Measles and Whooping Cough?

About Influenza – Each year thousands of Queenslanders are hospitalised with the influenza virus, commonly known as “the flu”. High-risk groups include mothers, pregnant women and those over the aged of 65. As per Queensland Health guidelines, vaccination against Influenza is required annually, as the vaccine changes each year to cover the expected disease strains.

About Measles – According to Queensland Health, Queensland is experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in over 15 years and roughly one third of adults who contract measles need to be hospitalised. A booster is recommended for all adults born during or since 1966, unless you have evidence of having already received two doses of the MMR vaccine, and especially for healthcare workers, people who work with children and those looking to travel overseas.

About Whooping Cough – Whooping Cough immunisation in adults protects vulnerable infants from contracting the potentially life-threatening illness. There is no cure and the illness results in death for one in every 200 babies who contract it. As per Queensland Health guidelines, a Whooping Cough (Pertussis) booster dose is strongly recommended for males and females planning a pregnancy, people working with, living with or caring for babies under six months and any other adults who want to reduce the risk of infection and haven’t had a previous booster in the last ten years.

Test your knowledge on vaccines in this month’s Brain Tweezers!