Vaccine accessibility and technology help regional communities fight COVID-19, faster

  • Andy Lerch from Good Price Pharmacy in Kingaroy, Queensland.
    Andy Lerch from Good Price Pharmacy in Kingaroy, Queensland.
  • Vaccination being performed on woman's arm

Australia’s COVID-19 rollout has hit its stride as more and more Aussies roll up their sleeves at their local community pharmacies. Two recent developments are to thank for this marked improvement in the vaccine rollout: vaccine accessibility and the types of vaccines available through the community pharmacy network.

To date, community pharmacies have administered more than 1.5 million vaccine doses throughout the country, including in regional and rural Australia, where they are often the most accessible primary healthcare providers.

In fact, community pharmacists take pride in their ability to make essential health care, like vaccines, accessible and convenient. On average, 81.5 per cent of all Australians live within 2.5 kilometres of a community pharmacy, meaning your first, second or booster shot is right around the corner.

Appointments to receive your free COVID-19 vaccination can easily be made by visiting findapharmacy.com.au. Alternatively, a number of walk-in options are available to make your vaccination experience as seamless as possible.

The type of vaccines available in Australia at community pharmacies has also strengthened the rollout. The Federal Health Minister recently announced that participating pharmacies are now able to offer all three of the vaccines approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA): Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine, which community pharmacies began administering in June, and the Pfizer vaccine, which is now available at community pharmacies, have a shorter lag time in between doses compared to that of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This means more people in Australia can get fully vaccinated faster and life can get back to normal.

The Pfizer vaccine can have you fully protected in 3–6 weeks and the Moderna in 4–6 weeks from the initial dose, while the AstraZeneca vaccine requires 4–12 weeks in between doses.

Further, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available to more people in Australia since the TGA has provisionally approved it for people 12 years and older, while the AstraZeneca vaccine is provisionally approved for those 18 and older.

Most importantly, the vaccines work. Large clinical trials have shown that each of these vaccines are tremendously effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalisation and death from the virus. The best way to protect your family and friends, and to ease the burden on your local community and the health system, is to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

You’re in safe hands at your community pharmacy. As highly trained primary healthcare professionals, pharmacists receive the same vaccination training as GPs and nurse practitioners and have used their clinical expertise to administer flu and other vaccinations throughout Australia since 2014.

If you’re tossing up between the vaccines or about getting vaccinated at all, your community pharmacist is available to walk you through the options and help you make an informed decision about what is right for you and your family.

Community pharmacists value your privacy, and any questions or concerns you might have about your initial vaccinations or booster shot can be discussed with your pharmacist in a private consulting area. And your pharmacist will take the utmost care when delivering the COVID-19 vaccine. They will make sure you are feeling well after your vaccine and ensure you have no adverse reaction.

Community pharmacies are helping Australia move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and to get everyone back to the places and people we have missed over the last 19 months. Whether you are looking to get your first, second or booster dose, pharmacists offer the accessibility, professionalism and convenience that will ensure as many people as possible can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Visit findapharmacy.com.au to find your closest community pharmacy administering the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations.

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