The Morrison Government has secured an additional one million Moderna doses from European Union member states to further bolster Australia’s vaccination programme.
The extra doses, along with the first shipment of the already contracted doses, will arrive within the next week and go directly to local community pharmacies across the country and into the arms of Australians.
This comes at the same time that the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is now also recommending Moderna for everyone 12 years and older. In line with approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), everyone aged 12-59, including families, can access these doses from their community pharmacy.
The doses have been sourced by the Government from surplus vaccines destined for Spain, Czech Republic, Portugal and Bulgaria and will further bolster the community pharmacy vaccine rollout.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the extra supplies of Modena represented a family sized dose of hope.
“Families will now be able to go along together to their pharmacy to get their vaccinations,” the Prime Minister said.
“This additional supply also enables us to direct urgent supplies where they are needed most, and make up the final ground for everyone in Australia to be offered a jab, originally set back in January for in October.
“In October we’re going to have enough vaccines in the country to have offered everyone a jab meaning we’ll be able to take the next steps in our plan to safely reopen Australia.
“First thing’s first to take the steps to safely reopening – get vaccinated. The next few weeks are going to be critical to encourage your friends, family and colleagues to get the vaccine.
“As all these extra doses arrive in Australia we’ll see queues for vaccines cut at the more than 9,000 places you can get vaccinated. Mum, dad and the kids will also be able to go to their local community pharmacist to get vaccinated as a family all at the same time.
“These are doses of hope for families in particular as we move to reopen Australia safely.
“These additional Moderna doses build on four million Pfizer doses sourced from the United Kingdom, one million from Poland and 500,000 from Singapore.
“I’d like to thank the European Commission and partnering countries for their cooperation, and Sweden and Norway for their assistance. I also thank Moderna with whom we have also worked closely to secure this arrangement.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Marise Payne said Australia’s network of diplomats had been working around the clock in securing agreements such as this.
“This agreement further demonstrates the important role our diplomats play and the strength of Australia’s bonds with European nations and the European Union,” Minister Payne said.
“Australia is committed to working with all partners across the world because our shared recovery from COVID-19 depends on it.”
The safety of the Australian people is the Government’s top priority and upon arrival the Moderna doses will undergo the same TGA batch release process as all other COVID-19 vaccines.
With the vaccine rollout program expanding throughout community pharmacies, Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said local community pharmacies would begin to receive Moderna doses within a fortnight.
“These doses are adding additional capacity and will further ramp up the vaccination rate of young Australians,” Minister Hunt said.
“Australia’s vaccine rollout is continuing to hit record levels every day, with 22.4 million doses delivered nationally. Some 13.6 million people have had one dose, and over 41 per cent of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated.”
These doses plus Australia's already contracted supply will be shared with over 3600 community pharmacies across Australia. Up to 1800 Pharmacies will begin to receive doses through the week of the 20th of September and the next 1800 pharmacies will follow shortly after.
Supplies will arrive later this week and go through standard clearing procedures with the TGA.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey said pharmacies across the country were ready to help even more Australians to be vaccinated.
"Community pharmacies have kept their doors open during bushfires, floods and a once in a generation global pandemic,” Mr Twomey said.
“Community pharmacies are now stepping up to vaccinate Australian families against COVID-19.
“I encourage all Australians to visit their local community pharmacy and roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated."
Getting vaccinated at your local community pharmacy is easy and convenient.
So far approximately half a million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered through community pharmacies across the country.