Big change in Warwick pharmacy gives teens power to choose
TEENAGERS in Warwick will be granted new rights to take care of their health and protect the wider community from disease under vaccination regulations that come into effect today.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds will now be able to sign themselves up for a flu jab at their local pharmacy without parental consent, a state government move that Warwick pharmacist Ahamad Almesfer has labled a "win" for the Warwick population.
The new laws will bring Queensland in line with other states and increase access to vaccination, Mr Almesfer said.
"I think it's great," he said.
"You only have to look at stats over the last couple of years in terms of influenza to see that increasing the number of people who can get vaccinated is a winner."
Minister for Health Steven Miles said the amendments would allow young Queenslanders to make a personal decision about getting vaccinated.
"This is a step in the right direction for Queensland to reduce the barriers for kids of anti-vax parents to gain access to vaccines for preventable diseases," Mr Miles said.
The rules will also apply to injections to protect against whooping cough and measles.
Mr Almesfer said the key to keeping the wider community safe from disease was in making vaccinations more accessible.
"This makes it easier for people.
"Last year I believe we did 80 or so injections and that is 80 people that might not have been able to make an appointment with their GP to get a vaccine," he said.
"As a pharmacy, we do our part in the community and offer another professional setting that people can go to get their vaccination."
Having more people vaccinated creates "herd immunity" which means that those unable to get vaccinations have less risk of coming in contact with flu and other diseases.
Mr Almesfer said flu vaccines were now available in Warwick.
"It's not just now. We have seen more people getting flu jabs all year around with the emergence of the summer flu," he said.