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Pharmacy alumnus helping to deliver State's COVID-19 vaccine

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University of Tasmania pharmacy alumnus Jackson Crawn is making history.

As a specialist pharmacist in infectious disease with the Tasmanian Health Service, Jackson is part of a team of highly skilled pharmacy technicians and pharmacists who are helping to deliver thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses to communities across the State. 

It’s a challenge which Jackson is taking in his stride. 

“The vaccine rollout is one of the largest logistical exercises we have undertaken in Australia,” he said. 

“It’s been one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I’ve been involved with. 

“There are different logistical and clinical challenges to problem-solve each day and that’s what makes it so interesting.

“The most rewarding aspect is being part of an amazing team who are working so hard to protect our community.”

The team performs a number of functions as part of the rollout including overseeing the appropriate cold chain management of the vaccine, which involves handling it at ultra-low temperatures, and contributing to the protocols and guidelines relating to the COVID-19 vaccine in Tasmania.

“Our COVID pharmacy team consists of some very talented pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and managers, and we work closely with the wider COVID-19 vaccination team in Tasmania,” he said.

“It’s a high-pressure environment working on a project of this scale and requires communication with a huge number of stakeholders. 

“It’s really rewarding to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.”

Jackson completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours at the University of Tasmania before taking up an internship as a pharmacist in the state’s hospital pharmacy service.

It was through his workplace that he gained an interest in infectious diseases and was able to pursue his passion further.

“An infectious diseases pharmacist works closely with infectious diseases doctors, clinical microbiologists and the wider healthcare team to advise on the safe and effective use of antimicrobials,” he said. 

“The role is broad and includes activities such as attending ward rounds where we advise on appropriate selection, dosage, monitoring and optimisation of antimicrobial therapy, to developing hospital and state-wide protocols and guidelines on appropriate antimicrobial use. 

“Our statewide hospital pharmacy service in Tasmania is a supportive environment to work in and provides many opportunities for career development. 

“It’s given me the skills, knowledge and opportunity to practice as a specialist pharmacist.”