It will be easier for Queenslanders in regional and remote areas to access the Covid vaccine starting today, as pharmacies are licensed to dispense doses in 49 locations across the state.

It’s specifically designed for regional and remote areas that don’t have a large capacity for GP rollouts.

Places where the pharmacy-only vaccine will be available include Longreach, Boonah, Chinchilla, Clermont, St. George, Stanthorpe, but also Hamilton Island.

The use of pharmacies for Stage 2a of the vaccine rollout has been part of the national rollout plan for some time, but was originally supposed to start last month.

Regional Health Secretary Mark Coulton said Queensland public pharmacies would be the first in the country to take part in the rollout.

“More than 8 million people live outside of Australia’s major capitals, and although the regions were largely spared outbreaks during the pandemic, vaccination is vital to our continued recovery and progression,” Coulton said.

“It is extremely important to ensure that all Queenslanders regardless of where they live have access to COVID-19 vaccinations, and public pharmacies have a network of professionals to make this task easier.

“Pharmacists have the skills and ability to play an important role in bringing vaccines into the bush and have the local knowledge needed to ensure their communities are fully protected from the virus.”

More than 5 million Australians have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to date, with more than 1 million in rural, regional and remote areas.

Acting President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Chris Owen said the state is leading the nation by being the first to allow pharmacy vaccinations.

He said this was an important step given the decentralized nature of the state and the need to get Queenslanders vaccinated as soon as possible.

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