The Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program (the program) commenced in June 2016. Under the program, appropriately trained Victorian pharmacists can administer influenza and pertussis-containing vaccinations to adults.

As part of the program pharmacists are able to administer government-funded vaccines to eligible adults under the National Immunisation Program and the Victorian Government's Parent Whooping Cough Vaccine Program.

Enabling pharmacists to administer these vaccines provides greater access to vaccinations for people who are most at risk of complications from vaccine-preventable disease. It also gives new parents more options for vaccination against pertussis to protect their newborn infants.

Evaluation

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) engaged HealthConsult to undertake an independent evaluation of the program, which focused on the program's operation since its establishment, with a particular focus on the 2017 influenza season. 

HealthConsult engaged with stakeholders across pharmacy and other relevant sectors to inform the evaluation framework and ensure data was collected in a way that was practical and recognised the time constraints of participants.

The program was evaluated using a mixed-method approach. This approach included a review of the national and international literature and, Australian state and territory policies and programs, an assessment of available data sources, and both qualitative and quantitative studies with key stakeholders. 

Analyses of primary and secondary data sources were used to assess the performance of the program against the stated objectives.

Ethics approval was obtained through the Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee.

Evaluation findings

The evaluation found that the program provided safe and quality care. 

Between June 2016 to September 2017, 47,525 Victorians were administered influenza and pertussis-containing vaccines and 10,420 Victorians received the vaccine for the first time.

Ninety-six per cent of consumers reported they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with the pharmacist-administered vaccinations received. Six cold-chain breaches were reported and no serious adverse events following immunisation were reported during the evaluation period. Ninety-one per cent of participating pharmacists reported improved work satisfaction. 

The evaluation results suggest that the program had an impact on reducing and avoiding disease burden associated with influenza and pertussis. With further expansion in the number of participating pharmacies and number of trained pharmacists, it is anticipated that this impact will continue to increase. In addition, consumers benefited from an increase in access to these vaccination services, a reduction in wait time and for some patients, a smaller fee.

A number of issues including non-compliance with data capture and, reporting and low uptake of government-funded vaccines were raised, and the report recommended a staged approach to future expansion given the importance of addressing these issues.

The department has already commenced work to address these issues and will continue to work with the sector to improve reporting and uptake of government vaccines.