Pharmacist-administered influenza vaccination program for older adults

To expand access to the influenza vaccine (external site) for older adults, pharmacists can now administer government-funded vaccine to this population group who are most at risk of complications from influenza (external site).

To find out more visit the 2021 WA Influenza Vaccination Program.

Target group

Any person aged 65 years and over is eligible for a seasonal influenza vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) (external site).

Pharmacist immunisers may charge a fee for service and are required to advise persons about the availability of free immunisation services through bulk-billing general practitioners, prior to administering the vaccine.

Registration for the program

The Program is open to all community pharmacies with pharmacists trained in immunisation.

The registration process requires agreement to the terms and conditions of the program as prescribed in the Administration of Influenza Vaccines by Pharmacists (Word 212KB)Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA), including management of vaccines, cold chain vaccine wastage reporting, Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) reporting, and reporting of vaccination administrations into the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Register for the program (external site).

Authority to vaccinate in Western Australia

Pharmacists trained in immunisation are authorised by the Chief Executive Officer of Health to administer influenza vaccines at a registered pharmacy in Western Australia, under the Administration of Influenza Vaccines by Pharmacists (Word 212KB)Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA).

The SASA outlines the criteria which must be met prior to administering vaccines to eligible individuals e.g. training and site requirements

Reporting vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Effective 1 March 2021, it is mandatory for all influenza vaccinations to be reported to the AIR, in accordance with the Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Reporting) Rules 2021 (external site).

To do so, immunisation providers need to register on the AIR by completing the application to register form (external site) and emailing a signed copy to WA Department of Health by email: AIR.authorisation@health.wa.gov.au.

Once approved by the WA Department of Health, the application will then be sent to Services Australia (external site), and a copy will be sent back to the applicant.

For more information on using AIR, please refer to the Guide to AIR.

Vaccine management

Vaccine ordering

Sigma Healthcare will distribute NIP-funded seasonal influenza vaccines to community pharmacies that have registered for the program.

Vaccine cold chain management

Vaccines should be stored and managed in cold chain (the system of transporting and storing vaccines within the safe temperature range of +2 to +8 °C), in accordance with the Strive for 5 – National Vaccine Storage Guidelines (external site).

A cold chain breach occurs when storage temperatures deviate outside of the recommended range of +2 to +8 °C. This does not include temperature deviations or excursions in which the temperature reaches a maximum of up to +12 °C for 15 minutes or less. Any deviation below +2 °C must be reported.

Reporting cold chain breaches and vaccine wastage

Reporting cold chain breaches

To report a cold chain breach involving government-funded vaccines (Fluad® Quad only), the WA Cold Chain Breach Protocol requires you to report the cold chain breach to your Public Health Unit (PHU) using the Pharmacy Cold Chain Breach and Incident Report Form available at Cold chain management website.

As a condition to receive government-funded vaccines, providers must comply with the WA Cold Chain Breach Protocol.

Reporting other vaccine wastage incidents

To report NIP-funded vaccines (Fluad® Quad only) that are discarded due to vaccine expiry, please complete the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Expiry Report Form available at Cold chain management website.

To report NIP-funded vaccines (Fluad® Quad only)  that are discarded due to user error, please complete the Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form available at Cold chain management website.

Adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) reporting

An AEFI is an unwanted or unexpected event following the administration of a vaccine.

As a notifiable infectious disease-related condition under the Public Health Regulations 2017 (external site), an AEFI must be reported to the WA Department of Health by the immunisation provider and the patient’s nominated General Practitioner.

Refer to Adverse event following immunisation for information on how to notify.

Fees and charges

Pharmacist immunisers may charge a service fee for administration of the vaccine to individuals who are eligible to receive government-funded vaccines, if they wish to do so.

Pharmacist immunisers are required to advise these individuals about the availability of government-funded vaccines and free vaccination services through bulk-billed general practitioners, prior to administrating the vaccine.

For those individuals who are not eligible for government-funded vaccines, the pharmacist may charge a fee for the vaccine and their services.

Please contact the WA Department of Health at immunisation@health.wa.gov.au for queries regarding the Program.

Queries

Contact DoH.PIVT@health.wa.gov.au for queries regarding the program.

Last reviewed: 23-03-2021
Produced by

Communicable Disease Control Directorate