The Australian Medical Association is opposed to Queensland’s new policy of allowing pharmacists to give measles and whooping cough vaccines.
Pharmacists in Queensland will become the first in Australia to administer whooping cough and measles injections, to the chagrin of doctors.
Doctors and trained nurses are currently the only medical staff who can inject these vaccines but this will change from September.
The Australian Medical Association is worried pharmacists aren’t properly trained to deal with allergic reactions.
“We are concerned that if a patient may have a serious reaction, which is rare, that the pharmacy may not be able to cope with that,” the AMA’s Queensland president Shaun Rudd told AAP.
“It’s not necessarily 100 per cent safe.
“I’m not aware it’s done in any other state in Australia.”
But Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the success of an eight-month trial, allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines, gave the state government confidence they could give whooping cough and measles injections to adults.
“I’d just say to anyone who might have concerns, look at the evidence,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“We’re dealing with pharmacists that have about five years or so of studying pharmacology and toxicology … so it’s very easy to train them to do that and they’ve got all sorts of protocols.”
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said doctors would continue administering the majority of these vaccinations.
“This is about the health of Queenslanders, not about people’s particular professional interests,” he said.
Pregnant women in Queensland will also become the first in Australia to be given free vaccines for whooping cough during their last trimester from July 2014.
The government is aiming to have 95 per cent of the state’s children and 85 per cent of adolescents immunised against childhood diseases.
It is expanding its school immunisation program to target the human papilloma virus.
On Wednesday, the government also launched a smart phone app, known as VacciDate, which will allow parents to monitor vaccine and booster dates.