Australians under 40 are expected to be offered Pfizer jabs from September, vaccine rollout chief reveals
Australians under 40 are expected to be offered Pfizer vaccines from September when more supply arrives from overseas.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, head of the Covid-19 taskforce, said young people will be able to chose which jab they get later this year.
Currently, Aussies under 40s can only get the abundant AstraZeneca vaccine via their GPs because the government is prioritising scare Pfizer jabs for people aged 40 to 60.
Australians under 40 are expected to be offered Pfizer vaccines from September when more supply arrives from overseas. Pictured: Vaccine queues in Sydney on Thursday
‘I think when we get to September and October, if we’ve got the amounts of supply that we are forecast to have at those stages, that’s around about the time we may be able to look at bringing more choice into the program,’ Mr Frewen said.
‘But we can’t put a hard time on that just yet.
‘Because of supply issues, we’re prioritising Pfizer for certainly age groups.
‘For those below 40, if they wish to take up AstraZeneca now, they can under informed consent.
‘When we have supplies of both we offer choice to individuals,’ he added.
Almost 8,000 under 40s have received their first AstraZeneca dose since Prime Minister Scott Morrison highlighted it as an option last week.
AstraZeneca, which is only recommended for people over 60 because of extremely rare but serious blood clots, has a 12-week gap between doses, while Pfizer has a three-week space.
State and federal health officials met on Tuesday to discuss potential problems with the rollout, including possible staff shortages.
Some officials are concerned there may not be enough workers available to roll out vaccines quickly and easily when tens of millions of Pfizer and Moderna doses arrive later this year.
They are considering options including drafting in trainee paramedics or final year medical students.
‘We’re looking for every opportunity we can to accelerate the rollout,’ Mr Frewen said.
Mobile mass vaccination hubs will also be considered.
Jane Halton, who chairs the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said Australia needed to be prepared for glitches in vaccine delivery.
‘This is not something that you can just stick on general practice across the country and then get that huge number of people through,’ she told ABC radio.
‘The federal government is starting to sit in a really co-operative way, not just with the states, but working with industry, who are really desperate to help their workforces get vaccinated as well.’