Flu vaccine has never been quicker
NEW rules that make it possible to walk in off the street for vaccinations against common diseases are about to get their first real-life test.
From January 1, it became legal for accredited pharmacists to administer vaccines to counter influenza, whooping cough, tetanus, the mumps, measles and rubella.
With the flu season almost upon us, health authorities have been urging people to vaccinate against the potentially fatal disease before peak season arrives in the next three to four months.
South Grafton pharmacist Michael Troy, one of the activists behind the new law, said the point of the change was to remove impediments to people having the flu jab.
"Money, time and intricacy have always been the big stoppers for people getting vaccinated," he said. "Cutting down those barriers is the one way we can ensure vaccinate rates remain high, and convey all the benefits of that to the community."
He said instead of seeing a doctor about immunisation, taking the script to the chemist to be filled and then having the needle administered, people could walk in off the street, fill in a form, have the injection and be on their way in about 20 minutes.
"It used to be people could chase around half a day to get a vaccination," he said. "That was enough to deter many of them."
Mr Troy said the return to prominence of diseases such as whooping cough and measles showed the effectiveness of vaccines.
"Those diseases had been virtually eradicated and have only returned because vaccinations rates have dropped below the level where they confer herd immunity," he said.