The government funds pharmacists to administer free flu vaccine in residential aged care

The government has allocated funds and will enable pharmacists to administer free flu and National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines within aged care and disability homes. Previously, this was only available to GPs.

The initiative, known as the National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy Program (NIPVIP), aims to improve access and affordability of essential vaccines, with implementation set to begin this coming Monday – April 29.

The initiative seeks to ensure that high-risk populations receive crucial vaccinations, including free COVID-19 and influenza shots, before the onset of winter. Notably, the government has announced that NIPVIP payments will be linked to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rates starting July 1, 2024, with funding earmarked for offsite expansion until June 2026, pending evaluation.

“Community pharmacists play a vital role in our healthcare system – and they will play an even bigger role by administering free, lifesaving vaccines to eligible patients living in aged care homes and disability homes.”

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

With reported cases of flu in Australia currently surpassing last year’s figures by 40%, health authorities stress the urgency of vaccination, particularly for individuals at higher risk, such as children under 5, pregnant women, First Nations people, and individuals aged 65 and above.

Despite a dip in vaccination rates last year, data underscores the effectiveness of flu vaccines, reducing hospitalisation risk by 68% and GP visits by 64%.


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