Pharmacists face one-month delay in Covid-19 vaccine rollout

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A vile of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine is pictured

Australian pharmacists say they will not start administering COVID-19 jabs until June as the country’s delayed vaccine rollout suffers yet another blow.


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Pharmacists were due to come onboard the rollout in May, when people aged 50 and over become eligible for the vaccine.

Melbourne general practitioner Dr Todd Cameron told Today he was “pretty disappointed” in the slow start of the rollout.

“We were promised the world and delivered an atlas,” he said.

“I think GPs feel pretty betrayed by the Federal Government in a lot of this.

“We don’t seem to be getting reliability here.”

Dr Cameron said GPs were absorbing costs upfront, as they only get paid after delivering the jabs.

Vaccine supply was also an issue, describing the process for reordering vaccines as “complex”.

“We can’t have a process whereby our supply is not reliable, not just for the vaccine but for the consumables that go with it,” Dr Cameron said.

Queensland vaccination hubs have again come under fire for moving at snail pace, with just 34 vaccinations managed across the state over the Easter weekend.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd said the government had not ruled out mass vaccination sites.

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Professor Michael Kidd has reassured Australians the country’s COVID-19 vaccinations will ramp up despite a slow start.

“The mass vaccination sites are not off the agenda, particularly as we move into phase 2A,” he said.

“There are discussions with each of the states and territories as to how we best meet the needs of their specific populations, to make sure that nobody who wishes to receive this vaccine is going to miss out on receiving the vaccine.

“We have had problems with vaccine supply from overseas, over three million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was contracted to arrive in Australia by now, has not arrived in Australia. But fortunately, as I’ve mentioned, we have the CSL facility of course now rolling out millions of doses.”

Meanwhile, Australian health authorities will tomorrow meet to discuss a possible link between AstraZeneca and blood clots after speaking with health authorities overseas.

It comes after a Victorian man suffered the condition after getting the jab.

Professor Kidd said the blood clotting was “likely” linked to the vaccine.

“We’re still waiting for more advice as to how strong that linkage actually is,” he said.

“We will be meeting with the regulators in the UK over the next 24 hours to discuss what definitive decision they actually make.

“The Australian technical advisory group on immunisation is going to be meeting again tomorrow to review the advice for Australia.”

The government pointed out around one to two cases of blood clots have been reported overseas per million people vaccinated.

Professor Kidd said it was important to note the risk of death from COVID-19 was much higher.

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