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Doctors against pharmacy flu jabs

From April, the Priceline chain will offer a walk-in service across its 120 pharmacies where customers can buy the influenza vaccine over the counter.

Plans for patients to be given the flu vaccine in pharmacies without the need of a prescription from their see their GP hasn't been welcomed by doctors.

Patients will have to make an appointment and the vaccine will be administered at the pharmacy by a qualified nurse immuniser at a cost of $30.

But the new service, to be run by Medimobile flu services, has been met with criticism from the AMA who say the patient's safety could be put at risk by administrating the vaccine outside of the general practice setting.

AMA WA president Dave Mountain told the West Australian he was concerned that Priceline was downgrading an important health measure, with the pharmacies only interested in making a profit.

Speaking to the claims that the service would put patient's safety at risk, founder and medical director at Medimobile flu services Kirsten Baulch said the vaccines were administered by qualified nurses trained in dealing with adverse reactions. They also would have access to advice from on-call doctors.

''They're registered nurses who have undertaken extra training to enable them to vaccinate unsupervised,'' she told The Canberra Times. ''A lot of their training focuses on managing adverse reactions, allergies and so forth.

''They are authorised to carry adrenalin and anti-allergy treatments with them. If they needed to do that, they've got instant access to doctors we've got who just sit and take phone calls.''

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