Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout: everything you should know about the changes | Health

Join Hafta-Ichi to Research the article “Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout: everything you should know about the changes | Health”

Australia received its first delivery of Covid-19 vaccines in mid-February and has begun the mammoth task of immunising every willing adult in the country.

Repeated delays to Australia’s vaccine rollout – triggered by supply issues, logistical failures and changing health advice – have dramatically reshaped the government’s plan for vaccinating Australians.

The target of fully vaccinating the entire population by the end of October has been pushed back and the changing advice surrounding the AstraZeneca and associated blood-clotting risks for younger Australians has meant Pfizer vaccines are preferred for that cohort.

As a result, Australians aged over 50 have been brought forward in the vaccine rollout.

From Monday 3 May, vaccination clinics around Australia will be open to all Australians over 50, with GP bookings for this demographic coming online in the following weeks.

Here’s everything you need to know about the changed vaccine rollout and whether you can get your vaccine yet.

Who has been vaccinated so far?

About 2.1m vaccine doses had been administered by the end of April.

The rollout’s phase 1a – which includes quarantine and border workers, priority frontline healthcare workers, and staff and residents at aged care and disability centres – has been eligible since the beginning of the rollout, predominantly using the Pfizer vaccine. Up to 1.4m doses are expected to be needed for this cohort.

The vaccine rollout was dramatically scaled up when phase 1b began on 22 March, when general practitioners came online. This group included everyone over 70, other healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 (later expanded to over 50), adults of any age with underlying medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus, and certain high-risk workers including army, police and those working in meat processing plants. About 14.8m doses are expected to be needed for this cohort.

Who is about to become eligible?

All Australians aged over 50 will become eligible from 3 May, bringing forward the start of phase 2a.

This was agreed to by national cabinet on 22 April, to better utilise the available stock of AstraZeneca doses that Australia can produce locally (as opposed to Pfizer doses for under-50s which Australia must import due to the country’s lack of mRNA vaccine manufacturing capability).

I’m over 50. Where can I get my vaccine?

You can get your vaccine from 3 May, but you’ll have to wait a little longer if you want to get it at your local GP.

Despite supply shortages and criticism of the rollout in aged care centres, several different categories of facilities are now administering vaccines.

Commonwealth-run respiratory clinics and state and territory-run vaccination centres will be the first to offer AstraZeneca vaccines to those aged over 50 who have become eligible under phase 2a.

However, availability at these clinics will depend on where you live.

For example, in Victoria you will be able to book an appointment at one of the state-run centres, or walk into one and wait. You can also call 1800 675 398 to book an appointment in Victoria.

However, in New South Wales the state government has indicated it will continue to focus on the previous priority groups in its state-run centres from 3 May. This means bookings will be offered only to those it deems most at risk, and not available to all residents aged over 50. A booking system is expected to be established once more vulnerable groups have been vaccinated.

The federal government’s eligibility tracker will take into consideration where you live and your eligibility, and offer a booking process. You can also call the national Covid helpline for information about your local clinic, but you can’t make a booking via that phone number.

GP practices will join the rollout for those aged 50 to 69 only from 17 May.

Some GP clinics that have the capacity to commence vaccinating for this cohort may begin before 17 May if they have approval from the government.

It is unclear if this information will be reflected in the government’s vaccine tracker.

What else changes from 3 May?

State and territory-run vaccine facilities with sufficient refrigeration capacity will be able to administer Pfizer vaccines, having previously been limited to AstraZeneca vaccines. This greater availability will only benefit people aged under 50 in phases 1a and 1b.

Who still has to wait for the vaccine?

The rest of phase 2a, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 18 to 49, will have to wait to receive Pfizer vaccines. So will phase 2b and 3, which includes the rest of the population aged between 16-49.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout: everything you should know about the changes | Health

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *