Questions and answers
Why is influenza vaccination important?
Annual influenza vaccination provides the best protection against seasonal influenza. Influenza viruses are constantly changing so the vaccine is updated each year to protect against new strains of the disease. Therefore, it is important that people are protected against influenza by being vaccinated each year.
Can pharmacists now give influenza vaccine in my local pharmacy?
Pharmacists who have received the appropriate training will be able to give influenza vaccine in pharmacies to healthy people 18 years and older now the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards have been approved by NSW Health.
Haven’t pharmacists been able to give influenza vaccination for some time?
No. Some pharmacies have been employing specially-trained registered nurses to administer influenza vaccine in local pharmacies The change in legislation means that appropriately-trained pharmacists will be able to administer influenza vaccine under their own authority to healthy people 18 years and older.
Why is this change being made?
This change is being made to expand access to influenza vaccine, including in rural and remote areas where access to GPs may be limited.
Which vaccines can pharmacists give?
Pharmacists who have received the appropriate training are able to administer influenza vaccine to healthy people 18 years and older. All other vaccines can only be given by GPs or specially-trained registered nurses, including the routine childhood vaccinations.
Who can pharmacists give influenza vaccination to?
Appropriately-trained pharmacists can administer influenza vaccine to healthy people aged 18 years and over.
What training does a pharmacist need to be able to give influenza vaccinations?
Pharmacists will have to undertake appropriate training to ensure that influenza vaccine is administered in accordance with the NSW Health approved standards.
Will I have to pay a fee to receive influenza vaccines from a pharmacist?
Yes. Pharmacists will charge a fee to administer influenza vaccine and you should ask about these costs before being vaccinated. For people eligible for free influenza vaccine under the National Immunisation Program, this can only be obtained from your GP or for eligible children from some community health centres.
Who is eligible for free influenza vaccine in NSW?
Free influenza vaccine is available for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:
- all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions [i]
- Aboriginal individuals aged 15 years and over
- pregnant women
- people aged 65 years and over (a free vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group)
People eligible for free influenza vaccine can only be vaccinated at their local GP practice, Aboriginal Medical Practice (AMS), community health centre or local council.
Can children be vaccinated against influenza?
Yes. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for any person 6 months of age and older who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza. Some children at higher risk of complications are eligible for free influenza vaccine, including all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years and individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions. Influenza vaccine for these children is only available from GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS), community health centres and local councils.
Will my pharmacist tell my GP that I’ve been given influenza vaccination?
You should talk to your pharmacist to ensure that your GP is informed that you have been administered influenza vaccine. You may need to give consent for your information to be shared with your GP.
Find out more about pharmacist vaccination.
[i] See Medically at risk for a list of medical risk conditions for eligibility for free influenza vaccination.