In an Australian-first research trial announced earlier this week, the Queensland (QLD) branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has joined forces with the QLD branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) to trial a pharmacist immunisation research pilot program in QLD.

Collaborating with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and James Cook University (JCU), the PSA and Guild-run trial entitled The Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot (QPIP) was approved following consultation with the Department of Health (DoH) to ensure the trial was legally viable.

In a joint media release QPIP will kick off the 2014 influenza vaccination season and is designed to target consumers not currently covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Tim Logan, QLD Guild Branch President says the QPIP program might lay the foundations for community pharmacy to deliver more professional services of benefit to the community.

“Community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals and so we are a natural destination for the delivery of vital immunisation services.”

The immunisation program has come under attack by GPs, with AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton stating his opposition to the trial proceeding.

He is quoted as saying; “It is not in the interests of patient safety for pharmacists to participate in this irresponsible trial.”

Responding to his claims, National President of the PGA, George Tambassis says the AMA’s claims show they are out of touch with the accepted views on vaccination delivery, as countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, the USA, Canada and the UK all offer programs where pharmacists deliver vaccinations successfully.