A boost to the vaccine rollout

In a boost to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, it has been announced that 22 pharmacies across regional and rural NSW will begin administering the AstraZeneca jab as part of a pilot program, starting from mid-July.

The first pharmacies to administer the Covid-19 vaccine in NSW will be available from mid-July for people 60-plus and will be those located in areas where access to a GP or vaccine clinic is limited due to geography – this will be pharmacies located in regional towns, including Gulgong, Narromine, Walcha, Dungog, Dunedoo and Merriwa.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says community pharmacists already have an important role in Australia’s vaccination program, administering vaccines including the yearly flu jab.

“We know that some of these communities have limited local access to general practitioner services and having these pharmacies involved will assist with the phased rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine to these communities,” says Ms Berejiklian.

“This is a vital step to help ensure as many people in NSW as possible receive their Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard says there is currently significant demand for vaccination bookings across NSW, and this new pathway will make it easier for people right across the state to get their vaccine.

“I want to reassure the community that everyone in NSW, whoever wants to be vaccinated, will be vaccinated as soon as possible when it’s their turn,” says Mr Hazzard.

Requirement to meet standards

Community pharmacies will need to meet certain standards in order to administer Covid-19 vaccines.

These include:

  • Must not supply or administer the vaccine to a person who is under the age of 60, or a patient with a contraindication or precaution to vaccination;
  • Written consent from a patient;
  • Mandatory training for vaccinators;
  • Recording of each vaccination; and
  • Conduct vaccinations under approved practice standards.

It is expected additional pharmacies will join the Covid-19 vaccination program in the future.

This also paves the way for pharmacies to further assist NSW in supporting the Commonwealth Government’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. 

Additional mass vaccination centres

In related news, Ms Berejiklian has also announced that the NSW Government will establish two new mass vaccination centres, plus a large clinic in the heart of the city in preparation for a larger supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

“In NSW we have a sense of urgency about getting jabs in arms because once the vast majority of our population is vaccinated, we can start a conversation about reaching a ‘covid-normal’ state,” says Ms Berejiklian.

One of the new mass vaccination centres will be established in Southwest Sydney, at an old Coles building in Macquarie Fields, the other will be in the Illawarra in a former David Jones building on Crown Street in Wollongong.

They are in addition to the state’s nation-leading hub at Sydney Olympic Park, plus a second mass vaccination centre in the Hunter Region, due to open within weeks.

In addition, a Sydney City vaccination hub site has been secured close to light and heavy rail lines that will serve city workers and residents through extended opening hours.

Each NSW Health mass vaccination centre will follow ATAGI advice and administer AstraZeneca to people 60 years and over, as well as Pfizer to people 40 years and over (in addition to those in categories directed by the Federal Government as priorities).

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