COVID-19

When every Australian can get the jab

From Monday, bookings will open up for children aged between 12 and 15 years to receive the jab. But the man tasked with running the rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen, has called for patience as bookings open up to the age group. “Access will be available for both Pfizer and Moderna from next week, and the Moderna will be coming through the pharmacy networks,” he told ABC News Breakfast. “People obviously need to get online and make the bookings. I do ask for a little bit of patience as we get them settled in over the next couple of weeks, but people should be able to get on and get bookings within a couple of weeks.”The Pfizer vaccine is already available to Australians in that age group who are Indigenous, have an underlying health condition or are part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. After months of criticism over the pace of the vaccine rollout, the government has worked to boost supply with the purchase of an extra one million Moderna doses from Europe in addition to several vaccine swap deals. General Frewen insists from mid-October there will be enough supply for every eligible Australian to be fully vaccinated.“So from the middle of October we believe we will have enough vaccines in the country to fully vaccinate every eligible person in Australia,” he said. “So really we are in a period now where we are shifting from any sense of supply constraint. “We have the supply, we think we’ve got the distribution network, now it really comes down to people stepping forward, getting booked in and getting vaccinated.”Former deputy chief health officer Nick Coatsworth has sounded the alarm on the number of adults who remain unvaccinated. Speaking to the Today show, Dr Coatsworth said while it was important for children to be vaccinated, more focus needed to be paid towards adults. “Whilst it will be important to get the 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated, my biggest concern at the moment is an adult that hasn’t been vaccinated in Australia. “Soon it will be a matter of choice that people haven’t been vaccinated … and at that point if you are unvaccinated you are putting the healthcare system at risk of excessive burden and your own health at excessive risk. “So I think it is the adults we have to concentrate on.”As of Sunday, 67.4 per cent of the population aged 16+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 42.3 per cent of Australians fully vaccinated.When asked about financial incentives, General Frewen indicated the option was still on the table but said he hoped people would keep turning out as supply increased. “We will keep a range of inventive options open, but right now we think people are turning up, people will continue to turn up. We will keep monitoring it.” he said.

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