Health Minister flags this week as seeing the takeoff for community pharmacy’s COVID vaccine rollout
Health Minister Greg Hunt says this is the week that the community pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination rollout is set to kick off in earnest.
Speaking in Melbourne yesterday (5 July), Mr Hunt said “this week we’ll see a boost to our program through two primary fronts. Firstly, we’ll be increasing community pharmacy rollout.
“The community pharmacies are specifically designed to provide access in areas where there’s little to no GP support, in remote, rural, and regional areas”.
This week will see 65 community pharmacies administering the vaccine across Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia, Mr Hunt said, adding this “will ramp up to approximately 300 by the end of July”.
The commander of the Federal Government’s COVID vaccination Taskforce, Lieutenant General John Frewen also emphasised a greater role for pharmacy yesterday, saying that “bringing in additional workforce, of course, may be one important factor [in speeding up the rollout].
“We’ve got additional GPs, additional pharmacists in the first instance, for example, that we’re already introducing into the mix,” Lt Gen Frewen said.
“But there’s a whole range of other options, like mass vaccination clinics, drive through clinics. We’re looking at all of the possible ways that we can make sure that those vaccines get delivered at the end of the year”.
Mr Hunt provided an update on vaccine supply, revealing that in the previous week “we conducted batch release and sample testing of 305,370 doses of Pfizer vaccine, and 704,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
In the coming days, the Therapeutic Goods Administration will conduct sample testing and batch release a further 300,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and 260,100 of the onshore CSL-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.
A total of 1,108,000 doses of vaccine were distributed to more than 2500 locations across the country in the previous week, the Minister said.
“Every single one of those deliveries were made, and despite lockdowns causing a number of flights to be cancelled, we even managed to use the Royal Flying Doctor Service to ensure that deliveries were made to a number of remote and rural areas in the Territory”.
“Last week, 880,000 doses were administered across the country, taking our total now to 8,255,473. That’s an increase of 100,000 doses from the previous week,” Mr Hunt also revealed.
“And analysis of that data indicates our week day average increase of 16,000 per week day, up from the previous week, predominantly on the back of increase in second doses”.