Pharmacies 'should offer more jabs'
The range of vaccinations offered in pharmacies should be expanded to free up other front line services, it has been claimed.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has called for the Health Minister to give pharmacists the authority to administer vaccines against pneumococcal diseases, hepatitis B and shingles.
Travel vaccines could also be provided, the union has said.
Bernard Duggan, from the IPU, said: "The proof is there that pharmacists can make a difference when it comes to immunisations so let's build on that success."
The appeal was made at the IPU National Pharmacy Conference in Killarney.
Mr Duggan added: "With 85 million visits to community pharmacies every year, pharmacists are the most accessible part of the healthcare service and can provide a wider, more comprehensive and more convenient vaccination service to the public.
"Not only will vaccination improve patient outcomes, but it will free up other front line health services to concentrate on other more chronic areas of healthcare."
During the 2014/2015 season, 51,560 flu vaccinations were carried out in pharmacies.
According to the IPU 23% of their patients had not previously been vaccinated and 83% were in the "at risk" category.