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Queensland expands ability of pharmacists to access emergency medications amid crisis

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Queensland has announced a number of key changes to legislation that will allow pharmacists greater access to emergency medications and grants them authority to deliver the vaccine to COVID-19 when it become available.

Queensland has announced a number of key changes to legislation that will allow pharmacists greater access to emergency medications and grants them authority to deliver the vaccine to COVID-19 when it become available.

Queensland's Minister for Health, Steven Miles, said the changes will expand the range of services pharmacists can offer including widening the circumstances pharmacists can provide people with prescription medications and substitute medications as well as being able to swiftly distribute a vaccine when the time comes.  

A motorist  is given the thumbs up by a police officer after being stopped at a checkpoint on the Gold Coast Highway at Coolangatta on the Queensland/NSW border,

We are very confident that we will one day have a vaccine and it will be incredibly important that we get that vaccine out as quickly as we can, that we vaccinate as many people as quickly as we can and by using our network of community pharmacists, that will be the fastest way to get that vaccine out and help keep our Queensland community safe.

The amendments also include a six month continuation of the emergency provisions under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and home delivery services announced last week between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Australia Post allowing free deliveries for those who qualify.

The University of Queensland has developed what they hope is an effective vaccine for coronavirus.

Mr Miles said the timeframe for a vaccine remains around 12-18 months however Australia needs to prepare itself when and if a vaccine does become available.

"The wait for a vaccine could be sometime but it is important we do everything we can to prepare for that. That includes ensuring we have manufacturing capability, distribution capability, as well as now administration capability. That is what we are getting ready for," he said.

A representative from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said the amendments would be crucial in assisting people most at risk of the impacts of COVID-19.

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"These drug therapy protocol changes will mean that 6,200 pharmacists and 1,150 pharmacies across Queensland will provide enhanced health care access to all Queenslanders," he said.

"These will be instrumental in protecting Queenslanders, especially those at risk, those who are self-isolating at home, those who are over 70 or have a chronic illness will be able to receive enhanced health care access due to this announcement."

Queensland reports significant drop in weekly infection rate

Queensland has reported just nine new cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state's total to 974.

There are currently 28 people with coronavirus being treated in hospital and 12 of those are in ICU.

The new numbers bring the week's total number of new cases to 77, representing a significant drop in infection rates from previous weeks.

Police officers patrol Cottesloe Beach on April 10, 2020 in Perth, Australia.

Last week's seven-day total stood at 274 and the week before was 380, demonstrating the declining number of new cases per week.

"We have seen, in just two weeks, a very dramatic decline in the weekly average number of cases," Queensland's  Health Minister Steven Miles announced today.

"I'm pleased to report that we haven't seen an increase in positive tests, in fact, the number of positive tests have continued to decrease over that time," he said.

Queensland conducted 2,149 tests overnight revealing a positive testing rate of just 0.42 per cent over the last 24 hours.

"That's incredibly low by global standards," Mr Miles said.

Despite the decline in positive cases, Mr Miles said social distancing measures had to stay in place if the public wanted to continue the promising results.

"The results we are seeing this weekend are thanks to our efforts last weekend and so it won't be until next weekend that we see the benefits of our efforts this weekend," he said.

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"If we can keep this up, less Queenslanders to get sick, less Queenslanders to end up in hospital, less Queenslanders to end up in ICU, requiring ventilation and, ultimately, less Queenslanders dying from this awful disease."

Source: 9News

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