Topics: Moderna COVID-19 Pharmacy Vaccination Program.
TRENT TWOMEY: Welcome, everybody to Priceline Pharmacy in Brisbane CBD. Today is D-Day for Delta. We’re here today with Minister Karen Andrews, representing the Commonwealth Government, to launch the Moderna COVID-19 Pharmacy Vaccination Program. We’re here with two very special guests: we have two 12-year-olds – Tara and Archie – who are standing here behind me. Of course, they’d love to have a chat with all of you in a moment, but today really marks the turning point in Australia’s battle against the COVID-19 virus. The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine; it belongs to the same family of vaccines as the Pfizer vaccine. It is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for all Aussies from 12 years of age and over. From today 1,800 community pharmacies right around Australia will start receiving their shipment of the Moderna vaccine. Priceline here in Brisbane received theirs last night, so they’re starting the rollout of their program today. Next week we will see another tranche of pharmacies come on board – so we will get up to around the 3,700 pharmacies nationwide.
Australia: how do you get your Moderna COVID-19 vaccine? Well, it’s very simple. You go to findapharmacy.com.au. That’s findapharmacy.com.au. I’ll hand over now to the Prime Minister’s representative, Minister Karen Andrews, and she’ll introduce you both to Tara and Archie. Minister.
KAREN ANDREWS: Thank you very much, Trent. It’s an absolute delight to be here in one of our community pharmacies for the launch – nationally – of the rollout of the Moderna vaccine. Now, as you have just heard, Moderna is from the same family of vaccines as the Pfizer vaccine. We have in Australia now AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna that are being rolled out right across this country. One million doses of Moderna came into the country over the weekend, facilitated through the border by the Australian Border Force. These vaccines are now ready to be rolled out and the first doses are going to go into a couple of arms standing right here this morning ready to be vaccinated. This is a very important step. We have very good supplies of vaccines now right across Australia. Moderna is certainly helping that with the rollout starting today. It’s important that we make sure that we get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. The Pharmacy Guild and our local pharmacies have been outstanding in supporting the rollout – firstly with the AstraZeneca vaccine and now with Moderna. Pharmacies are great because people are very comfortable coming into a pharmacy. They can bring their family in and they can all get vaccinated at the same time. So we are certainly hoping that with the pharmacies on board with Moderna now, we will see the rollout gather even more pace. The National Plan has already been agreed to by the Commonwealth and the states and territories. We are focused very much on making sure that we are in a position to open our international borders as soon as we safely can do so. A key step in that is making sure we get the vaccination rates up. Now, at the present time New South Wales is leading in terms of first doses; they’re sitting at around about 83 per cent of those 16 and over being vaccinated with their first dose. In Queensland it is at around about 60 per cent – so there’s more work to do, but we are well on the pathway to making sure that we are in a position to open our international borders as quickly as we possibly can. We do have two volunteers here who are ready to have their vaccines today: Archie and Tara. So why don’t you step forward and say a few words about how important this vaccine is for you?
ARCHIE: This vaccine is important because I want to protect the community and my family, and to all my friends and family: I reckon you should all get vaccinated.
TRENT TWOMEY: How old are you, Archie?
ARCHIE: I am 12 years old.
TRENT TWOMEY: Okay. Thank you, good job buddy, well done. Tara?
TARA: I think the vaccine is important because it protects the schools, communities, loved ones. Everyone should get vaccinated when they become eligible.
TRENT TOOMEY: Thanks, Tara. That’s great. Well done.
JOURNALIST: How many Queensland pharmacies are participating and how many do you hope to vaccinate, say in a week, here in Queensland?
TRENT TWOMEY: In Queensland there are roughly 400 pharmacies that come on board this week, followed by another 400 next week – so 800 community pharmacies right around Queensland. Those aren’t just in the southeast corner – it’s all the way from Cairns to Caloundra and of course up in the Torres Strait and out in the Gulf. The great thing about activating the Community Pharmacy Network is that they are in all of those regional towns – and there are 400 towns right across Australia that don’t have a general practice but they have a community pharmacy.
JOURNALIST: How many would you have to vaccinate in Queensland, say, in a week?
TRENT TWOMEY: All of those pharmacies – the 800 pharmacies – are classified as small, medium, large or extra-large. So they’re all getting a different number of first allocation doses. As the Minister said – there’s a million that have already been distributed, and two million by the end of the month. The system then becomes dynamic – so the more the pharmacies vaccinate, the more stock they can order.
JOURNALIST: Okay. Minister, can I just ask you about one of your senators, Gerard Rennick, who’s written to Greg Hunt asking for approval to use a horse worm tablet. Do you think that’s something that we should consider using?
KAREN ANDREWS: I will take the health advice on the proper health measures that should be put in place. I understand that some people in our Parliament do have various views; that’s a matter for Gerard Rennick to pursue. My clear advice is that people should be taking the medical advice they are given; whether that’s by their GP or by following the advice from our Chief Medical Officer. That is what I will be continuing to promote.
JOURNALIST: You wouldn’t be using a horse worm tablet yourself?
KAREN ANDREWS: No, I wouldn’t.
TRENT TWOMEY: Excellent. Thanks.