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There have been significant impacts on the supply of vaccinations available through the community pharmacy network. These issues were not able to be identified earlier in the year due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact to the supply has been manifold:
• Demand on community pharmacy vaccination service has greatly increased as public health messages continue to encourage uptake of the vaccination;
• Cancellations of onsite vaccination clinics as more and more workplaces choose working from home arrangements, meaning that where the volume of vaccinations was once shared between immunisation providers, it now rests solely with community pharmacy; and
• Supply issues with wholesalers and manufacturers which has meant that pharmacies have received their orders behind schedule. Flights into the country have also become challenging with the border shutdown, meaning that some stock is taking longer to arrive.

The Pharmacy Guild, on both a National and State level, continues to meet regularly with industry bodies, manufacturers and wholesalers on how this supply issue might be resolved. The stock supply issue currently affecting community pharmacy extends beyond influenza vaccinations and is the topic of regular meetings between the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Federal and State Governments.

Currently, it is expected that all pre-orders of vaccination stock made by pharmacies (usually in October/November) will be filled in the coming weeks. At the time pre-orders were made, there was no indication that this unprecedented demand on community pharmacy would occur. Therefore, it is possible that even when pre-orders are filled, a stock shortage will still exist.

There is discussion about whether manufacturing of more vaccinations will occur or if additional vaccinations will be brought into Australia. While this will not help to resolve supply issues in the short-term, it will ultimately help to address the stock shortage in the long-term as manufacturing and/or importing may take several months. Further manufacturing is strongly supported by the Pharmacy Guild.

Yours sincerely,

Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

3 April 2020

Influenza Vaccination Supply - Seasonal Influenza Vaccinations 2020

Guild Corporate Health

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