Date published: 
26 April 2021
Media type: 
Statement
Audience: 
General public

1,937,300 vaccinations have been completed as increasing supplies of vaccine are delivered to more than 5000 sites across the country.

As of today, 3,589,686 doses of vaccine have been delivered to those sites by the Australian Government, with 3,025,852 doses available for use.

The Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) plays a lead role in the vaccination rollout. It is working in close partnership with the States, Territories and the primary care sector to safely, securely and efficiently store, transport, deliver and administer COVID-19 vaccines across Australia, in support of Phase 1a and 1b of the rollout.

Operations Coordinator of the VOC, Commodore Eric Young, CSC, RAN, said: “Last week, more than 356,000 doses of vaccine were administered, up from 330,000 doses the week before, which is an outstanding achievement.

“Our mission has always been to ensure vaccines we have, are available across the country, where and when they are needed, to protect our most vulnerable Australians.”

Following direction from National Cabinet last week, the VOC, working in close partnership with the Commonwealth, States, Territories and the primary care sector, is implementing rollout changes as a result of the preferred use of Pfizer for people under 50 years of age.

This primarily involves three key elements:

  • Firstly, the Eligibility Checker, available at health.gov.au is being progressively updated, so that everyone in an eligible Phase 1 cohort will know how and where to access a COVID vaccine. This includes finalising Pfizer locations for those under the age of 50, in partnership with the States and Territories. In the meantime, States and Territories will continue to work directly with the relevant sectors to manage bookings for Pfizer clinics.
  • Secondly, AstraZeneca doses are being re-allocated to enable the bringing forward of those aged 50 and over in Phase 2b from 3 May for General Practice Respiratory Clinics (GPRC) and State Clinics and 17 May for General Practices (GP).
  • Finally, supporting the establishment of additional Pfizer hubs and vaccination sites through training, ordering, and site readiness, as the number of Pfizer doses increases.

Supplying and producing the vaccine

In the coming days, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will conduct sample testing of 173,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine shipped to Australia and 707,000 doses of AstraZeneca produced onshore by CSL, prior to approving the vaccines for distribution.

Distributing the vaccine

Distributing the vaccines, particularly with the specific temperature requirements, is an exceptionally complex logistic operation. Ensuring safety of the vaccine is of the highest priority. The VOC has been working with logistics partners DHL and Linfox to distribute vaccines for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF), GPs, GPRCs, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCCHS), as well as State and Territory hubs and the Australian Defence Force.

Last week, more than 3,000 vaccine deliveries were made across the country, distributing nearly 600,000 doses of vaccine. This week, another half a million doses of vaccine will be distributed across Australia, and this number will continue to increase as the supply of vaccines increases.

  • Ordering and Delivery. Only two orders were returned last week, from more 3000 vaccine orders and 4000 orders of consumables, demonstrating ongoing and positive improvements in the ordering system and certainty around orders placed.
  • Consumables. The VOC has continued to work with clinics to address supply needs for consumables, with a number of deliveries made over the weekend to ensure sites were ready for this week. Looking further forward, the VOC is now working with Public Health Networks to pre-position additional consumables, as well as examining the feasibility of larger order windows, to provide increases levels of assurance for vaccination sites.   
  • Australia’s assistance to the Pacific. The VOC continues to work closely with the Departments of Health, Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade supporting vaccine supply to pacific partners in need.
  • Cold chain. The VOC continues to work closely with stakeholders to handle cold chain queries. A comprehensive cold chain management and investigation process is in place to ensure the safety of the vaccine. Where a site is affected, clear guidance is provided in relation to the continued use of the vaccine, or the need to be returned, including replacement of any vaccines.

Administering the vaccine

The current phase (Phase 1b) of the COVID vaccine rollout commenced on 22 March 2021 with 1000 GPs and 100 GPRCs. The number of Primary Care sites has continued to increase week on week, with more than 4600 GPs, GPRCs and ACCHSs now on board and vaccinating.

Last week, more than 356,000 doses were administered, compared to 330,000 the week before, with 1,937,300 total doses of vaccine now administered through a variety of mechanisms, including more than 1 million doses through the Primary Care network. The priority for in-reach service providers is vaccinating our most vulnerable Australians, and in particular, vaccinating Aged Care Residents in more than 2500 RACFs across the country, and disability residents with complex needs who require in-reach services.  

The VOC remains focussed on supporting vaccinations for our most vulnerable Australians, every single day.

About the Vaccine Operations Centre

Contact: Health Media – news [at] health.gov.au

For full list of publicly available data on the vaccine rollout.

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