The Australian Government’s COVID-19 booster vaccination rollout program officially gets under way today, initially focusing on residential aged care and disability facilities.
The start of the booster program follows Australia reaching a very significant milestone, with our national double-dose COVID-19 vaccination mark hitting 80 per cent over the weekend.
Almost 36.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered across the country – with more than a million being administered over the past seven days.
Our first-dose vaccination rate for people aged 70 and over has now hit 99.7 per cent, while the second-dose rate for this age group is almost 93 per cent.
Everyone living in Australia aged 18 and over who has completed their primary two-dose course of vaccination at least six months ago is now eligible to have an additional booster shot.
The booster rollout program will initially target population groups that were prioritised for early vaccination because the great majority of people within these cohorts are now ready for their booster vaccination, having had their second dose six or more months ago.
As is the case for the primary course of vaccination, booster doses will be administered for free.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine be preferred for the booster dose – irrespective of what vaccine a person received for their primary course of vaccination.
In the context of boosters, it is important people know that two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide very good protection, especially against severe disease.
A booster dose, six or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the first doses is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus.
Today also marks the start of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine being administered by community pharmacies.
This means from today, all primary care sites around the country will progressively be able to offer all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia, increasing choice and making it easier for whole families to get vaccinated at the same time.
Supplying and producing the vaccine
The ability to manufacture vaccines onshore has been essential to the progress of our rollout and CSL has now manufactured and supplied 23,536,600 doses of vaccine for use in Australia.
Last week, 1,462,500 doses of Pfizer, 526,400 doses of Moderna and 1,066,800 doses of AstraZeneca were released for distribution.
Over the coming days, the TGA will conduct sample testing of 1,642,680 doses of Pfizer vaccine, 500,400 doses of Moderna vaccine, along with 1,100,300 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine produced onshore by CSL, prior to releasing the vaccines for distribution.
Distributing the vaccine
With support from our Distribution Partners DHL and Linfox, more than 2,633,154 vaccine doses were delivered across Australia to metropolitan, rural and remote locations, along with 3,322 deliveries of consumables.
- Ordering and Delivery. 97.61% per cent of vaccine orders were completed last week with 25 orders of Pfizer, 0 order of Moderna and 5 orders of AstraZeneca to be finalised today.
- Australia’s assistance to the Pacific. The Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative (VAHSI) website lists the countries who have received doses shared by Australia.
Administering the vaccine
This week, 1,058,106 doses were administered across the country, taking the total number of doses administered 36.7 million. It took 45 days to reach our first million doses of vaccine administered and 7 days for the most recent.
- Total sites. This week we had a total of over 5,611 general practices, 137 Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics, 3,434 Pharmacies and 170 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services delivering vaccines, along with 957 state and territory sites, taking the total number of vaccination sites across the country to 10,309. Next week, we will have 12 additional general practices joining the program (commencing with AstraZeneca and Pfizer).
- Pfizer doses for community pharmacies. The week commencing 1 November saw 3,960 Pfizer doses ordered for delivery to community pharmacies. The week of 8 November just under 150,000 doses of Pfizer will be delivered to community pharmacies.