The secretary general of the Irish Pharmacy Union, Darragh O’Loughlin, has welcomed comments by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in the Seanad on Monday when he indicated that the vaccination programme will be extended to pharmacies from this month.
Mr O’Loughlin told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that over 1,000 pharmacies had applied to be part of the vaccination rollout programme which had been delayed by the HSE, so they were now glad to become involved.
It was his understanding that pharmacists would administer a “small amount” of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine to over 50s who had missed out during vaccination through centres.
MRNA vaccines could easily be administered through pharmacy premises, he added.
Pharmacists had been frustrated at their exclusion from the vaccination rollout programme to date, said Mr O’Loughlin. It did not suit everyone to have to travel to a vaccination centre which could be some distance.
In other countries pharmacists had been involved in vaccination programmes which had made it easier for people to get vaccinated, he said.
Getting the vaccine through a local pharmacy would make it even easier for people, and it would help overcome any vaccine hesitancy as people had a relationship with their local pharmacist and trusted them to answer any questions they might have
This would improve uptake of the vaccine, said Mr O’Loughlin.
Pharmacists would be paid the same fee as GPs, he said, €25 per dose and €10 per patient.