26 September 2023

Teens to catch up jabs in pharmacies

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Teenagers who missed out on their school vaccinations during the pandemic can now catch up on their missed doses more easily, with pharmacists in NSW able to offer vaccines to adolescents for the first time.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said under new regulations, which took effect on 6 May, pharmacists could administer the human papillomavirus virus and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis combination vaccines to people 12 years and over, and the meningococcal ACWY vaccine to those aged 14 years and over.

“Every year, the NSW Health School Vaccination Program provides the full range of adolescent vaccines to students across the state,” Dr Chant said.

“But the impact of COVID-19 has been wide reaching, and almost 80,000 students missed out on their routine vaccinations in 2020 and 2021 due to illness or when schools were closed during the COVID-19 lockdowns,” she said.

“NSW Health is working hard to ensure every student is offered catch-up vaccination this year through the school program.”

However, Dr Chant said the Department knew that some students still missed out, for example if they were absent on the day of the clinic.

“To make it easier for these students to get up to date with their immunisations, we are now making routine NSW Government-funded adolescent vaccinations accessible through local pharmacies across NSW,” the Chief Health Officer said.

“In addition, pharmacists will now be able to administer measles-mumps-rubella to people aged 12 years and over (lowered from 16 years) for anyone who may require it, such as those who have missed out on their routine vaccination at 12 and 18 months.”

She said vaccines would not only protect adolescents but others too, “as when the majority of the population has been vaccinated against a disease it reduces the spread.”

Dr Chant said vaccines for adolescent were already available at GPs.

Further information on the NSW School Vaccination Program 2022 can be accessed at this PS News link.

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