Pharmacists central to Covid-19 vaccine roll out

During a clinical update webinar, which was delivered to more than 1,000 pharmacists on 25 August 2020, University of Oxford’s Professor Sarah Gilbert informed participants that Australasia’s pharmacists would be central to the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine once it is approved for use.

Professor Gilbert, the vaccinologist lead on the University of Oxford team developing a Covid-19 vaccine, detailed her mission to create the world’s first mass-produced Covid-19 vaccine, and said that work on a specific coronavirus vaccine had been started well in advance to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about vaccine development and manufacturing, Professor Gilbert informed webinar participants that researchers were drawing on extensive knowledge and outcomes of previous vaccination research, and that no short cuts are being taken with the development of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The online webinar, which attracted more than 1,000 pharmacists who registered from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Egypt, was presented live from the UK and organised by the Australasian College of Pharmacy and the Queensland Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The aim of the webinar was to assist Australasia’s pharmacists to understand the development and clinical issues associated with the world’s lead vaccine candidates.

“The College has been delivering cutting edge pharmacist education for more than 40 years. It’s a privilege to continue offering agile and relevant education for pharmacists, especially during a time when they quickly need factual Covid-19 clinical information … from expert sources as the pandemic evolves,” says Australasian College of Pharmacy President, Chris Owen.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland’s Branch President, Professor Trent Twomey adds he was pleased to host the webinar in Brisbane, and to be able to connect community pharmacists to world-leading scientists.

“Queensland community pharmacist vaccinators are already trained to deliver vaccinations and are well-placed to conveniently and safely roll-out a future Covid-19 vaccine,” says Professor Twomey.

“Queensland pharmacist vaccinators are already leading the nation in immunisation provision, being able to provide the community with vaccinations against a range of bacterial and viral diseases, which is an integral part of communicable disease world-wide.”

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young has previously said that the Government would utilise the state’s enormous network of almost 1,200 community pharmacies when a future Covid-19 vaccine became available.